This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: House Studies Okonjo-Iweala's Response On Economy

The House of Representatives Committee on Finance has begun studying the 100-page reply by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to its 50 questions on the state of the nation's economy.

In her response, the minister had assured the lawmakers that the Nigerian economy was showing real and measurable progress in many areas, citing the creation of more jobs, infrastructural renewal and saving of money for the future as parts of the indicators that the economy is in a good shape.

The committee, in a statement titled: "The search for truth begins," by its clerk, Farouk Mustapha Dawaki, commended the minister for responding to the questions within a reasonable time, saying it will commence work immediately on the response.

It added that "if in the process the need arises for further explanation, information or additional documents, the minister will be promptly informed."

The committee also said it would call for a memorandum on the state of the economy and the 50 questions it gave the minister to answer from professionals, academics, civil society groups and other well-meaning Nigerians, stressing that this will be followed by a public hearing.

After all these, it said it would present to the House, a report on the true state of the nation's economy.

Noting that a timetable of the activities that will be conducted by the committee will soon be released, it thanked Nigerians "for their patience and understanding and hope that they will continue to support us in our patriotic search for the truth with regards to our troubled economy."

The House has also backed the steps taken by its committee to verify the state of the economy. It however warned that if Okonjo-Iweala could no longer take the pressure of her job, she should quit.

Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Publicity, Hon. Victor Ogene, while responding to questions from correspondents yesterday in Abuja, said: "Whosoever is unable to take the heat in this regard is free to honourably leave the kitchen.

"In this season of government by letter-writing, the House of Representatives would not allow itself to be entangled in a gutter brawl; rather it will remain focused on one of its core mandate of exposing corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence, as guaranteed by Section 88 (2) b of the 1999 Constitution."

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