Senate President Ahmed Lawan has underscored the need to reduce external borrowing through the blockage of revenues leakage from government agencies.
Lawan spoke Monday at the Presidential, Villa Abuja, while interacting with State House correspondents after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari.
The President of the Senate said federal, State, and local governments must swiftly find lasting solutions to the menace of agencies that were not remitting revenues to the treasuries.
He said: “We also had discussions on some other governance issues that have to do with making the revenues in the country, especially for government at the federal and the state levels, and even local governments even more.
“There are so many agencies of government that are not remitting their internally generated revenues and this is something that we have to address and address as stiffly as possible and as quickly as possible because we need to find a way of reducing the borrowing that we do.
“So, if there are areas that we can now get revenues that will help us reduce the amount of borrowing, then so be it and this is something that we all agree with Mr. President that we should continue to look at those areas that we need to improve on revenue generation and collection.”
Lawan, who said there was also a discussion on the budget 2022, disclosed the plan to make sufficient provisions for the security agencies and legacy projects like the second Niger Bridge, and the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano highway among others.
He said the target was to ensure the completion of these projects by 2022 so that Mr. President could commission them for the benefit of Nigerians.
‘We didn’t collect bribe for PIB’
Lawan also dismissed the allegation that members of National Assembly were induced with $10 million to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill 2021.
The presiding officer, who said he sued somebody three months ago over similar report, cautioned Nigerians against spreading negative information.
“People say anything or everything about the President, about the administration, about members of National Assembly, they call us names and this is part of the intangible dividends of democracy.”
“But we are determined to ensure that the space is wide open for everybody to say whatever he wants to say, but I will advise that don’t say things that are bad… Recently, somebody said $10 million was given to the Speaker and the Senate President to give to members of the National Assembly to pass 3% host community development fund. That is funny, but also very serious.
“I really want to take this opportunity to take exceptions to those kinds of unwarranted, unprovable, false and fake information being fed to the Nigerian public and the danger people will face with this is you cause unnecessary damage to the reputation of people.
“I had to take someone to court because of this kind of thing about three months ago, but Nigerians are better judges than anywhere else. So, the freedom of expression is there, probably more than anywhere in the world, but I want to caution that Nigerians should always think positive about their leaders and their administration and their governments and if they have issues they feel very strongly about, let them speak the truth and we are prepared to take corrections that we feel should be able to make us do better.”
The Senate President, who expressed said support for the reintegration of repentant Boko Haram members to the society, however, stressed the need for proper profiling to ensure they were truly repentant and ascertain that they no longer posed a threat to society.