President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday, 10 March, 2020 announced the constitution of a Joint Committee to engage the Executive arm of government on measures to be taken to insulate the Nigerian economy against the impact of the sudden crash of crude oil price globally.
The announcement came following a point of order raised by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, during plenary over rising concerns on the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus (COVID – 19) disease which has led to the crash of several markets across the world.
Consequently, the Joint Committee duly constituted include: Senate Committees on Finance; National Planning; Appropriation, and Petroleum (Upstream).
Abdullahi (APC – Kebbi North) had earlier prevailed on the upper chamber in view of the price crash of crude “to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
“Our Committees should be prepared, so that whatever happens, we hope this crisis does not last for long, but if it does, we have to be prepared”.
He said that the Joint Committee should come up with workable strategies that will be harmonized with those of the Executive arm of government with a view to stemming the impact of the oil price crash on the economy.
In his remarks, President of the Senate said, “The issue of the current situation affecting the entire world, and the second we are suffering from today is the crash in the price of crude.
“We passed the Fiscal Strategy Paper and MTEF, and subsequently the budget, on the benchmark price of $57 per barrel. Today, that price has crashed to $31 USD there about, and we don’t know where this will stop.
“And of course, the economy of our country depends rightly on the export of crude.
“Now, this is a real situation that is starring us in the face. As a parliament, we need to be proactive and up-to-date with the situation, so that we are also able to take a decision when it matter for us to do so.
“Therefore, I will suggest here, that in order for this Senate to be proactive and to protect whatever will be the situation for Nigeria to implement the budget in a way and manner that will positively affect the lives of our citizens, we form a joint committee.
“This Joint Committee will continue to engage with people in government, as well as people outside of government, so as to be abreast with all necessary information.
“The committee will engage with the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, and any other Ministries that you feel you need to have engagement with for you to have information,” Lawan added.