By Ignatius Okorocha
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday assured Nigerians that the country will overcome economic challenges facing the nation as a result of dwindling revenue from crude oil sale.
Lawan stated this in a speech he delivered to lawmakers on resumption from a five-week recess embarked on by the National Assembly to contain the spread of the novel COVID-19 disease.
According to him, the decision of the upper chamber to reconvene from recess was “to enable us (Senate) to sustain work on solutions and to ensure that the health crisis does not create further problems that might be much more difficult to deal with.”
He expressed concern that “the pandemic has affected our budget for this year, not just because of falling oil prices, but also because it has forced a reduction in economic activities, leading to an enormous loss of revenue.
He stated that the National Assembly had a series of engagement with the executive arm of government on areas of adjustments for a more realistic implementation of the 2020 budget.
“We are confident that we shall soon overcome this crisis, like previous health emergencies. All hands will however have to be on deck to register a quicker and more resounding success,” the Senate President assured.
Earlier, Lawan lamented the effect of the pandemic which according to him, had killed thousands of citizens across the world.
“We have also lost many of our dear compatriots. One of them is the Chief of Staff to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mallam Abba Kyari. We condole with President Mohammadu Buhari (GCFR) on this painful loss, just as we mourn other citizens who have died because of the disease,” he said.
The Senate President called on lawmakers to educate their constituents on the importance of social distancing, personal hygiene, and the need to avoid large gatherings.
“Citizens need to comply with measures like use of facial mask and reduction in movements until the virus is gone,” he stressed.
“It is also important we educate them on the guidelines and protocols of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on reporting suspected cases.
“The task before us is imperative and the responsibility of the legislator is even more important because of our closeness to the people,” the Senate President added.