2016 budget will revive the economy- Senate

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

The Nigerian Senate has once again assured Nigerians that the 2016 budget would meet their expectations with regards to job creation, boosting of infrastructure development and empowerment of the small, medium, and micro enterprises across the country.

Spokesman of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi gave the assurance while briefing Journalists ahead of Thursday’s laying of the appropriation bill before the Senate in plenary.

He said the appropriation committees of the National Assembly had processed the budget in a way that it would be implementable by government officials.

Senator Sabi who is also a member of the appropriations committee, said the fact that the 2016 budget would be laid on Thursday is an indication that the lawmakers have done very well to produce a document that can be acceptable by Nigerians.

NSITF Bill

Meanwhile, the Senate in plenary passed for second reading, a bill for an Act to amend the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) Act 2004, which intends to strengthen the Institution’s capacity to provide social security for Nigerians.

The NSITF bill, sponsored by Senator Suleiman Nazif, is to provide social protection to serve as a cushion to all working class Nigerians both in the private and public sector, unemployed and aged citizens without discrimination of any sort.

Also at Wednesday’s plenary, the Senate paid glowing tribute to the former Delta State governor, Chief Felix Ibru, who died last week at the age of 80 years. The Senate, which noted with grief the demise of the politician and business tycoon, said it would send a delegation to condole the deceased family, government and people of Delta State on a day it did not mention.

It subsequently observed a one minute silence in honour of the late Ibru, who served as a senator, representing Delta Central, in the 5th Senate, between 2003 and 2007, adding that he served the country with pride “as a quintessential legislator, bridge builder and a great force for national development, unity and peace.”

The Senate action was sequel to a motion, titled: The late Distinguished Senator Felix Ovuodoroye Ibru, sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, PDP, Delta Central and co-sponsored by senators James Manager, PDP, Delta South and Peter Nwaoboshi, PDP, Delta North, which was presented for consideration during plenary.

In the motion, the sponsors noted that the late Senator Ibru, the first democratically elected governor of Delta State, was a revered illustrious leader and Olorogun of Urhobo ethnic nationality of Delta State.

They further noted that as the first executive governor of Delta State, precisely from 1991 to 1993, Senator Ibru laid the developmental foundations of the democratic Delta State ” we all know today. “

‘” Between 2007 and 2010, Senator Ibru also served as President-General of the Urhobo Progressive Union, UPU, the umbrella social political body the Urhobo people – and, in that capacity, nurtured intra-ethnic harmony with public admiration.

“Senator Ibru was a major architect of the Ibru business empire that contributed immensely to put our dear nation Nigeria on the world of business and lifted the image of our nation, “they said.

In his contribution to the debate on the motion, Senator James Manager, PDP, Delta South, noted that the late Chief Ibru, in his time, was the chairman of Senate Committee on Establishment, noting that under his watch, so many executive bills were passed.

“Senator Felix Ibru meant so many things to so many people. I served under Senator Felix Ibru as commissioner when he was governor of Delta State.

I was his Commissioner for Social Development, Youths, Sports and Culture. Felix Ibru was indeed a great man, a great statesman.”

Also, in his contribution, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, APC, Lagos East, said: “I join my brother, James Manager, a ranking senator to mourn with the people of Delta state and indeed Nigeria. However, we are mourning in Lagos because inadvertently, the late Olorogun Felix Ibru contributed in so many ways in the development of Lagos State.

“He was a statesman of very, very high intellect. I remember a situation that came up in Lagos when I was the Executive Secretary, Lands, which involved the Ibru family.

”It was a legal tussle on the particular parcel of land on the Island and the issue was dragged till it got to the Supreme Court but midway, a situation presented itself for an out of court settlement for those of you who are very conversant with issues relating to land.

”When it got to a particular level Senator, then governor Felix Ibru had to lead the team of the organisation together with his siblings to a meeting and the terms of settlement were presented.

“Of course, from their own end, it would mean Lagos as to go beyond whatever they have planned. I want to let you know that from the personal intervention and the final decision taken by Senator Felix Ibru that put the matter to rest and I want to quote him. He said: “Whatever will contribute to the progress of Lagos, I want to be part of it, whatever settlement the Lagos State Government, under the leadership of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu then wanted is to be taken and it was taken and that rested the case.”

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, while also speaking, paid glowing tribute to the late Ibru.

“It is with heavy heart that I join the rest of us in mourning our friend and our colleague, Olorogun Felix Ibru. I met Felix Ibru in this Senate during the 5th Senate and we remained friends since then. He left the Senate in 2007 but the Senate born in him never left him. He always called when we had issues here and showed concern and as a senator, he brought in a lot of experience and wisdom in the conduct of his work.

” I recalled he was chairman of the committee on Establishments, he always turned his report, his report was clear, straight forward with a rich debate of this Senate but most importantly, he was just a calming influence on the Senate and senators at a time.

”Of course, we need to thank him and the rest of his family for their contributions to private sector development in Nigeria from the Guardian Newspaper, Sheraton, the Ibru Fish to so many other things.

” They developed and employed thousands of Nigerians and I believe that should be the example he is leaving behind to fellow Nigerians that the only way we can drive our economy and make Nigeria better was for the private sector to thrive and for Nigerians to be able to employ under private sector arrangement.”

Nnenna.O