The senator representing Bayelsa East, Ben Bruce (PDP) on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to adjust his approach to the anti-corruption crusade, saying policy was scaring investors.
Mr. Bruce, who said this while contributing to the Senate’s debate on the economic recession in the country, said that Nigeria should not expect foreign investments as even local investors had stopped investing.
He said people who had money to invest were no longer doing so because the anti-graft agencies were harassing any person with cash transactions running into millions.
“Buhari’s approach to anti-corruption is wrong: let us forget the foreign investors, what about the local investors?” Mr. Bruce asked. “If people are afraid, they will not invest; fear will not be a policy to grow the economy.
“Money is a coward; it only goes to places where there is peace and tranquillity.
“I have a friend who paid legitimate N50 million into his account and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) came and picked him up.
“We cannot be afraid to be Nigerians; we cannot be afraid to live in our country,” he said.
Mr. Bruce recalled that former President Olusegun Obasanjo also fought corruption but that his anti-corruption fight was not one that put fear in the minds of real investors. He said he supported President Buhari’s anti-corruption fight but insisted that the approach should be changed to encourage investments. On the prices of food in the market, he said that poor Nigerians were feeling the brunt far more than the rich. He said the prices of bags of rice, beans and garri had risen by over 50 per cent while the retail prices of the same commodity rose by over 150 per cent.
The lawmaker said while the rich bought the commodities in bags, the poor, whose minimum wage had not changed, had to buy at 150 per cent increased rate.
He attributed the increase in retail prices of items to the cost of transportation, and called for a transport policy to check transportation costs. (NAN)