REMARK BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, DISTINGUISHED SENATOR AHMAD IBRAHIM LAWAN, PhD, CON, AT THE INAUGURATION OF THE SENATE COMMITTEES, WEDNESDAY, 25TH SEPTEMBER, 2019

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Distinguished colleagues, I am most delighted to address us on this momentous occasion of the inauguration of our committees. This occasion is a departure from previous ways of inaugurating the committees. We have resorted to this in order to save precious time.

The senate received the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), this morning. As the preparations for the Appropriation 2020 is on top gear, and could be received soon, our committees need to be ready to perform their functions. Time, therefore, is of essence.

Like I said in my speech on our resumption yesterday, the committees are the engine rooms of our activities. As a result, effective and efficient performance by our committees is imperative for the success of this Senate.

Distinguished colleagues, our country is facing the challenges of insecurity, while our largely youthful population is affected by unemployment, among other problems. Fortunately, we are also blessed with abundant agricultural land.

We are similarly endowed with abundant solid minerals in all parts of our country. The oil and gas resources have remained our major source of revenue. Distinguished colleagues, our challenges can be appropriately addressed with our rich endowments. What we require therefore is the strategic deployment of those resources.

We can plan and use our agricultural potentials to achieve not only national food security, but also process for exports. Again, our solid minerals sector is largely untapped and we can exploit those resources through the right policies and supportive legislations.

We need to also focus on human capital development. It is inevitable that we have to improve government investments in education and health, if we want to create the critical mass of work force for the knowledge based economy of present times.

Our petroleum industry is almost stagnant and for long needing profound reform. Our oil and gas related committees, are therefore expected to work hard to take the lead in our determination to reform this vital sector. It is the desire, indeed the design of this Senate that, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is passed before the end of 2020.

The security architecture of our country has not achieved the desired results of providing the needed security to our citizens. Our security agencies need better funding and other resources for better performance.

As security is a fundamental responsibility of government, no amount of investment is too much. Our security related committees are therefore challenged to assess and review both the architecture and structure of our security agencies towards improved efficiency.

Distinguished colleagues, as we set to start our committee activities, the Senate expects the total cooperation of the executive arm of government. The Senate expects the Honourable Ministers and head of agencies of government to be forthcoming and responsive to the engagement requests of our committees.

Our committees will undertake regular oversights with a view to ensuring that government programmes and projects are properly executed for the benefit of our citizens. We will give the committees all the necessary support to function at the optimum, just as we enjoin them to leave no stone unturned in the bid to execute their mandates. Our target is to achieve the set goals of taking Nigeria to the next level.

As the committees are the engine rooms of the legislature, so are the MDAs to the executive. This is why there is the need for cooperation, consultation, partnership and synergy between the two arms of government. The Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are hereby called upon to harness the opportunity of the existence of the committees in the execution of their mandates. We must have a unity of purpose.

Distinguished colleagues, as a bicameral legislature, we must work seamlessly and cordially with our counterparts in the House of Representatives. The committees of both chambers need to work together for better legislative outputs.

The National Assembly has one objective-to make laws for the good governance of our dear country. Let us challenge ourselves to implement our all important legislative agenda. This task is one of national service, towards progress and development.

On this note, distinguished colleagues, it is my privilege and honour to inaugurate the entire committees of the 9th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Thank you

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