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Lawan lists security, revenue generation as senate’s 2022 focus

By Idowu Abdullahi

The Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has indicated that the lawmakers would using 2022 to focusing on issue germane to Nigerians, particularly challenges bordering on security and economy, saying the legislators would spare no efforts in ensuring citizens across the country are protected and their economic situation change positively.

He explained that he, alongside other legislators from both red and green chambers focus on security through oversight of funds appropriated in this year’s budget to the armed forces and other security agencies.

He explained that doing so would guarantee transparency in the procurement process and ensure the welfare of military and security personnel tasked with restoring security across parts of the country.

According to him, the challenge for the National Assembly, particularly the senate in 2022. So far, we have done over ninety percent of what we set for ourselves in our legislative agenda, but because the country and people are dynamic, we have so many other things to do.

“Today, the security situation still begs for more attention. We will give a lot of attention to the security situation. We have appropriated about a trillion for our security agencies and armed forces, now it is for members of the National Assembly to ensure that the procurement process by the armed forces are transparent and everybody there is accountable.

“[And] of course, we should do oversight as much as possible for the welfare of our soldiers and security personnel. They need to continuously be motivated,” Lawan said on Wednesday while briefing the Senate Press Corps who visited to felicitate with him on the occasion of his 63rd birthday in Abuja.

Aside from security, the senate president added that the upper chamber would also in the first-quarter of this year focus on addressing the challenges of revenue generation, collection and remittance to increase the federal government’s earnings.

According to him, an improvement to the country’s revenue figures would reduce Nigeria’s dependence on external borrowings for the execution of capital projects captured in the national budget.

“We still have a huge responsibility, and, in fact, it is something that we wanted to do last year, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic we couldn’t do so. This year, by the grace of God, we are going to resuscitate that plan, and it is to keep and maintain focus on revenue generation, collection and remittance.

“Our Revenue to GDP ratio is very low, and the economists will tell you Nigeria’s problem is not debt but revenue. So, if that is the case, it means those of us in government must focus on dealing with the challenges of revenue generation, revenue collection and remittance.

“This year, we are going to have engagements with the revenue generating agencies such as Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA), Customs, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and so on, on a quarterly basis, to have their targets set for them, and we want them to come and brief us on their performance every quarter.

“We hope to start the first meeting, which is an exploratory kind of meeting with them either this month or early February. We want to see how we can make positive difference in the area of revenue generation. Nobody likes taking loans, borrowing or accumulating debts, wether as an individual, a family, a community or as a country.

“But what can you do when you’re not able to generate enough? We are as concerned as anybody else about our level of borrowing, even though we have not saturated, but if we can do better why not reduce, and the best way to reduce is to get more revenues from especially independent sources.

“The government owned enterprises are supposed to give us more money. In 2022, we are expecting maybe about a trillion, I’m not an economist, but I believe that we should be expecting maybe double or triple from them. We must support them, we must supervise them, and we must keep them on their toes for us to have more revenues in other to reduce the level of borrowing.”

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