Since the inauguration of the 9th Senate on the 11th of June 2019, Abia-North Senator and Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has continued to champion people oriented causes by making economic beneficial proposals and engaging in the movement of national development motions at the Senate.Notably among the proposals made by the Chief Whip during plenary was the suggestion made to the Federal government and other relevant stakeholders in the country to pay more attention to the production of cash crops.Kalu stated this on the floor of the Senate on the 24th of September at the resumption it’s the plenary after its annual recess.

Kalu, in his contribution to a motion titled ” urgent need to revive the palm oil industry in Nigeria”. He stated while addressing the Senate that crude oil in the country would soon become irrelevant in sustaining the Nigeria’s economy as a major revenue earner .

In his words: “If you realise what is happening now, industrial users are importing palm oil from Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries.

“And you will discover from history that Indonesia, Malaysia picked up their first palm seedlings from Nigeria in the early 70s but today countries like Malaysia earn over $150 billion as revenue from palm oil production.

“There is nothing like “waste” when it comes to palm oil processing. Electricity can be generated through its residuals, and we can do all kinds of things with palm.

“I support this motion and I must say that the revival should not only be in palm oil sector but also in groundnut, shea butter, Gum Arabic , cocoa, coffee, tea and all other cash crops that we have abandoned.

“The hayday of crude oil is almost gone; we have to return to the cultivation and processing of these cash crops if truly we want to return this nation to its past glory,” he concluded.

Similarly, on the 26th of September Kalu urged that the Federal Government to increase the nation’s capital budget to 70% and reduce the recurrent expenditure to 30%, if the economy must witness substantial development.

Kalu  argued that, as long as Nigeria continued to run annual budget with 70% recurrent and 30% capital, the country would go nowhere in terms of achieving meaningful socio-economic development.He also lamented the over bloated federal government agencies in the country, insisting that they must be reduced drastically.

Kalu frowned at a situation where the government had been planning to reduce cost of governance, yet the National Assembly continued to create new agencies, stressing that the 9th Senate must come up with legislation to reduce the number of establishments in the country.

Other motions co-sponsored by Senator Orji Kalu include:

*Nigeria’s membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area(AFCTA).

*Urgent need to ascertain the status of the Nigerian Extended Continental Shelf Project.

*Then deplorable conditions of Ikot-Ekpene and Aba-Ikot , Ekpene Nigh ways Akwa-Ibom and Abia State.

 *Exiting Petroleum Subsidy: Ensuring Self-sufficiency in Domestic Refining of Petroleum Products.

*The need to make development Aids more effective to work for Nigeria.

*Urgent need to revive the palm oil industry in Nigeria.

*Urgent need to review and recover additional revenue accruable to the government of the federation from the production sharing contracts pursuant to section 16 of the Deep Off-Shore and Inland Basin Production Sharing contract Act CAP D3L FN 2004 and amend extant act.

*The need to check illegal mining activities in the country , among others.

On constituency intervention, Senator Kalu attracted the attention of the Federal Government to the Ecological challenges confronting Erosion Affected areas of Abia-North Senatorial District of Abia State.

Occasioned by the untold hardship experienced by Abia-North constituents due to the ecological disaster the Chief Whip of the 9th National Assembly Senator Orji Kalu via a letter to the Federal Government dated 14th August 2019 called for further urgent intervention of the Federal Government and has since attracted the attention of the Presidency.

The newly affected communities and locations within the ABIA STATE UNIVERSITY VIA JUNCTION ROAD in Isiukwuato Local Government Area of Abia State having about 6 (six) Gully Erosion Sites.

Senator Orji Uzor Kalu in a separate letter addressed to the Office of Secretary to the Federal Government obtained by sources Dr. Kalu sought for further urgent intervention in the gully affected communities by approving their reconstruction in the next intervention budget.

The Federal Government had earlier responded to Sen Kalu’s letter through the Ecological Fund Management Committee, acknowledging that the government had graciously approved his request.

The response read”I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated 10th July 2019, on the above subject matter and to inform you that your request has been captured in Ecological Fund Office data bank for further necessary action”, the acknowledgement letter partly read.

The letter dated July 18, was signed by Engr. F. O. Okeke, the Director, Soil Erosion and Flood Control Department, on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the Ecological Fund Office.

Meanwhile , Kalu’s letter which captured erosion prone areas in (a) Abiriba and Ohafia Highway in Ohafia LGA;

(b) Elu/Amaekpu/Ugwueobenzu Hospital Road Ohafia LGA;

(c) Nkporo Ubibia Itumbuzo Ring Road;

(d) Bende Town, Bende LGA was yesterday expanded with further addition of (e) Abia State University arena via Akara junction road in Isuikwato Local Government of Abia State .

Senator Orji Uzor Kalu had also in a recent interview assured  his commitment to improving the lot of the good people of Abia-North as soon as the 2020 fiscal budget is passed into law.

Kenneth Udeh 

OUK Media Office