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No more lip service to diversifying economy, says Dogara

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Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (left), Olugbenga Ayoade, Adeniyi Adeyemi,  Kayode Oladele and Speaker, House of Representatives,  Yakubu Dogara shortly before the commencement of ‘Sectoral Debate on the Diversification of the Nigerian Economy’ at the  National Assembly... yesterday                                            PHOTO: Speaker’s Media Office

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (left), Olugbenga Ayoade, Adeniyi Adeyemi, Kayode Oladele and Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara shortly before the commencement of ‘Sectoral Debate on the Diversification of the Nigerian Economy’ at the<br />National Assembly… yesterday PHOTO: Speaker’s Media Office

Minister solicits lawmakers’ support for tourism sector
Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara yesterday said that all that is required to successfully transform the economy and earn it foreign exchange is available within the country.

Dogara, stating this with confidence when the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed appeared before the Lower Legislative Chamber during the Reps Sectoral Debates, maintained, “With the fall in crude oil prices, Nigeria really has no choice but to stop paying lip service to the urgent need for diversification of sources of revenue for Nigeria.”

According to him, the acute scarcity of foreign exchange, power supply challenges, falling GDP, fuel scarcity are some of the current matters of urgent national importance to be fixed.

Dogara explained that “the broad objective of the Sectoral Debates is to deepen the engagement of honourable members and the executive in national development policy issues and to promote the enactment of appropriate laws to enhance Nigeria’s economic growth and development,” adding that, “these Sectoral Debates are necessitated by the compelling need for stakeholders, particularly the executive and Legislature to engage in debates/ dialogues towards finding sustainable policy strategies and legislations for quick recovery of the economy.”
Going further, the speaker said at the end of the exercise, the outcomes should be able to be applied by the Federal Government to help actualise the change agenda of the present administration.

“We expect as I have said, that these debates would help us to craft new laws, lead to better oversight processes and change the way we do things in Nigeria. It is our firm conviction that there is no better way to help deliver the change that our people yearn for than by speaking to those aspirations and insisting that we walk the talk,” he stated.

At the Sectoral Debate, Alhaji Mohammed canvassed the support of the National Assembly to ensure the development of the tourism sector of the economy.

Mohammed maintained that the lawmakers could assist the sector through the passage of relevant bills that would soon be brought before them for consideration.

Lamenting that the tourism sector presently contribute less than one percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), he further harped on the need for a legislation to establish the tourism development fund aimed at providing short term loans to investors in the tourism sector of the economy.

The Minister, who expressed optimism that the tourism sector could contribute 2.5 percent of the GDP in two years time with the enabling environment, urged the lawmakers to put in place what he termed a “friendly” visa policy to boost the tourism sector.

He particularly remarked that the authorities has a lot to learn from the liberal but lucrative visa policies Ghana, South Africa, the United State of America (USA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to boost the tourism infrastructure comprising power, roads and security in the country.


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