The National Assembly leadership on Thursday hailed the resilience of Nigerians in the face of global economic and health challenges orchestrated last year by the Coronavirus pandemic.
It outlined areas of its concentration in a New Year message on Thursday by Senate President Lawan, that would help Nigeria exit its current economic recession and make governance more impactful on Nigerians.
One of the priority areas, according to a statement by Lawan, is the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill(PIB) in the first quarter of 2021.
Other areas listed by him are constitution review and electoral reforms as well as support for the Executive’s efforts aimed at stemming COVID-19 spread, insurgency banditry and other forms of crimes in parts of the country.
In the statement titled: “Senate President’s 2021 New Year Message,” Lawan said: “I felicitate with all Nigerians in this festive season and wish them joy and prosperity in 2021.
“The year 2020 was full of challenges on the economic, security, health, and other fronts for most nations of the world.
“Thankfully, however, the challenges could not dampen our hope for a better future for us as individuals and as a nation.
“As a Legislature, we had prepared ahead for the vagaries that will for long be associated with 2020 by making the necessary legislation for the facilitation of good governance and economic growth.
“The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus pandemic and the shutdown of the economy that it enforced adversely affected every country in the world as it did our own economic projections and preparations.
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“One of the worst results for Nigeria was the slide again into recession, just a few years after we had recovered from one.
“Despite this situation, we can thank God that the impact of global health emergency and economic recession on Nigeria are not as catastrophic as was predicted by experts..
“We need to prepare better than before for the New Year 2021 and the years ahead.
“We have to ensure for our people, better governance processes and dividends of democracy despite the prevailing circumstances.
“We are determined to see Nigeria exit, as quickly as possible in the new year, from the current recession.
“Topmost on our priority list for 2021 is the PIB, which we need, to boost activities in our oil and gas sector. The PIB has defied passage for about two decades but we are determined this time around to break that jinx and pass the bill by the end of the first quarter of the new year.
“It is our utmost desire to make the passage of the PIB one of the legacies of the ninth National Assembly. Equally important is the passage of the Electoral Reform Amendment Bill.
“This is necessary in order to enhance the democratic process of free, fair, transparent and credible elections in our dear country.
“We are determined to pass the Electoral Reforms Bill before the second quarter of 2021.
“Also on our priority list in 2021 is the amendment to the 1999 Constitution, which is the ground norm of our being together as a nation.
“We have it on our agenda to pull through the process of constitutional amendment in 2021.
“We will give accelerated consideration to any measures proposed towards the containment of the COVID-19.
“In this regard, the National Assembly is waiting for the Executive to propose supplementary appropriation for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine.
“The issue of security in the country has always been top on our agenda and it will continue to be of utmost priority in 2021.
“We hope to sustain our collaboration with the Executive for a lasting solution that will make our country a safer place to live in.”
“We promise in the new year to continue to put in our best for good governance and for the betterment of the lives of our people.”