Senate president, Bukola Saraki

SENATE  President, Bukola Saraki, yesterday, advocated for teacher’s salaries to become an item in the capital expenditure in the budget of states and the federal government in order to ensure prompt payment to beneficiaries.

A statement by Yusuph Olaniyonu, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, in Abuja, said Saraki spoke during an interactive Town Hall meeting, tagged:’‘#AskSaraki’,’ which he organized for constituents of his Kwara Central senatorial district. The ceremony, according to the statement, is part of activities to mark the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations. “I have always said that teachers’ salaries are one of the priorities that we must not neglect. This is why we should consider transitioning all such line items in the national and state budgets into capital expenditures.

“ This will ensure that education is always a matter of greatest importance and teachers’ salaries are always promptly paid,” the statement quoted him as saying. He added that it was useless to put building of classrooms and provision of laboratory equipment in capital expenditure when the teachers who will teach students were not paid and, therefore,  not happy. Saraki, who gave account of his stewardship as both senator representing Kwara Central district and chairman of the 8th National Assembly, also addressed his concerns about the lingering economic situation in the country, emphasising that a concerted legislative and policy thrust from both the National Assembly and the executive arms were needed to bring Nigeria out of recession.

He said:  “As things stand, I understand your concerns and feel your pains about the economy,” he said, “I assure you that we will work together to bring about legislative and policy solutions to address the lingering economic situation. “What we have done with your mandate in the National Assembly is to push for bills and initiatives that will put more money in your pockets.

‘’With the amendment of the Public Procurement Act, more entrepreneurs from  Kwara  and across the country will be able to participate in the government’s procurement process, and the ‘Made in Nigeria’ campaign will boost the internally generated revenues of both our state and the federal government.” Saraki  further emphasized that a concerted approach of both the legislature and the executive was needed to combat the lingering economic crisis, while underscoring the importance of seeing obstacles like the recession as opportunities to focus inwards to achieve economic diversification and better fiscal management.

“I assure you, when the National Assembly resumes, we will all work together to achieve legislative and policy solutions to the lingering economic situation.  We understand that no one branch of government can solve this crisis alone,’’ he said. The senate president explained that he understood the impact of the economic crisis in the lives of the people and that he would work with other people in government to find quick solution to the problem.

He said further:  “Those of us that you have elected into office are aware of the difficult economic situation in our country. We know we have to find a solution as fast as possible. We have no option. ‘’Once the Senate resumes, we will invite all those involved in the management of the economy to explain to the people what they are doing to solve the problem. Whoever among them that does not measure up to expectation in his or her explanation, we will recommend that he should be removed.

This is time for co-operation and exchange of ideas.’’ While calling for patience and understanding from the people, he said the current situation called for urgent and constant dialogue between the people in government and the electorate, saying nobody was happy with the current situation. “I appreciate our people. I empathize   with you and I am genuinely concerned and disturbed about what our people are going through. The situation is grim enough for you to ignore our invitation to this event.

‘’Let it be known that I will never take your support for granted. We will not disappoint you. The growth of the economy is my major pre-occupation and that of the Senate” he said to the admiration of the mammoth crowd,’’ he said.