• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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BusinessDay

What Nigerians should hold Tinubu to account for after May 29 (1)

Tinubu to varsity unions: Poor work ethics, strikes depreciate academic quality

On May 29, 2023, the curtain will fall on President Muhammadu Buhari-led government. Nigerians will leave history to judge him on the performance of his government. On that same day, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, president-elect and Kasim Shettima, vice president-elect shall also be sworn-in as the President and Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria respectively.

Tinubu will become the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. And all Nigerians, home and abroad, will look up to him as leader and father of the nation. As usual, there will be pomp and pageantry. Dignitaries from far and near will grace the occasion. The media will be agog. Prayers will be offered to God by different people of diverse religious persuasions in a multitude of tongues. Tinubu, Shettima and their families will move into Aso Rock Villa, Abuja as new tenants.

Already, many people, both politicians and technocrats are falling head over heels for a space in the new government; there is nothing wrong with all of that. But Tinubu must not renege on the social contract he signed with Nigerians before the February 25, 2023 presidential elections – his manifesto: Renewed Hope 2023; Action Plan for a Better Nigeria. Write it in your heart, write it on the tablet; paste on your wall, hang it on your door post. It is our contract with Tinubu; its sanctity must be preserve for now and posterity. After May 29, 2023, make him account for its contents, every bit of it.

Under our government, our cities and towns will witness a level of industrial activity unprecedented in our nation’s history

In the (contract) manifesto, Tinubu detailed his government’s 16-point action plan on national security, economy, agriculture, power, oil & gas, transportation, healthcare, the digital economy, sport, entertainment & culture, youth empowerment & entrepreneurship, women empowerment, social programs, judicial reforms, federalism/decentralization of power and foreign policy.

According to Tinubu: Our government will be committed to permanently securing the safety, freedom and property of all Nigerians”. This will be achieved through creating a new Anti-Terrorist Battalions (ABATTS) whose duties will be “to seize the strategic and tactical initiative, giving terrorists, kidnappers and bandits no respite”; upgrade Tactical Communications and Transportation as military units will be better equipped with tactical communication gears and new vehicles to give them a greater mobility advantage over criminals, bandits and terrorists.

He will upgrade weapons systems which will ensure that Nigeria’s weapons (land, sea and air) are capable of addressing current and anticipated security threats in the modern world. This programme will also reduce our security system dependence on imported military hardware.

The document which was jointly signed by Tinubu and Shettima and approved by Nigerians on February 25, 2023 states that the new government will exploit aerial and technological superiority, focusing efforts on taking greater advantage of our aerial superiority to both deter as well as swiftly respond to attacks by terrorists, kidnappers and bandits. There will also be improvement in the welfare of frontline military and security personnel and economic rehabilitation of areas affected by violence as Tinubu assumes office on May 29, 2023 according to the over 75-page document seen by BusinessDay.

“Our government will implement measures to eliminate attacks on vital national infrastructure. This will be known as our (Critical Infrastructure Protection) CIP Plan. Integral to this effort shall be the deployment of modern technologies, tools, and equipment to end crude oil theft, prevent vandalism of national assets, and reduce, to the barest minimum, environmental pollution of the Niger Delta”, the document said.

To be included in the security architecture are activities to ensure peaceful communities, secure borders, safe forests. “In line with global best practices, our administration will sustain current efforts on integration of all existing data and expand the database and priorities collaboration with key neighbouring countries, international partners, and allies to ensure the safety of Nigerians.

We shall boost the public confidence in the Nigeria Police Force and other internal security agencies by increasing recruitment and providing high-tech, non-lethal equipment with corresponding manpower development schemes. Police personnel will be freed from extraneous duties such as VIP security and guard duties. VIP security and provision of security for government buildings, installations and other critical assets will be transferred to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)”, Tinubu and Shettima promised Nigerians.

On economic development the duo said: “Under our government, our cities and towns will witness a level of industrial activity unprecedented in our nation’s history. In this, our youths shall become a leading catalyst driving the economic resurgence. This goes beyond the provision of decent jobs. It speaks of empowerment of those who see their future as starting and owning businesses in the new economy.

It goes to opening the economy in a way that encourages the best that the modern digital and IT-driving sectors have to offer existing industries and sectors, we will be brave and innovative enough to see how new economic vistas powered by today’s technology can create jobs and provide goods and services that will propel us toward greater prosperity and development.

The allocation of revenue between the federal and state governments will be adjusted to give states greater flexibility to foster grassroots economic development. We will build an economy that produces more everyday items, both agricultural and manufactured goods, that define an individual’s and a nation’s standard of living.”

Budgetary custom bases our annual budget and fiscal policies largely on the dollar value of projected oil revenue. Not only does this practice artificially restrict the Federal Government’s fiscal latitude, it also unduly attracts the nation’s attention towards a single source of fiscal revenue to the detriment of others, while promising a review of federal budgetary methodology.

To achieve optimal growth in the long term, we must wean ourselves from this limitation. A more efficient fiscal methodology would be to base our budgeting on the projected level of government spending which optimizes growth and jobs without causing unacceptable levels of inflation. As part of this prudent growth-based budgeting, we will establish a clear and mandatory inflationary ceiling on spending. However, we must break the explicit link between naira expenditure and dollar inflows into the economy, Tinubu said.

Read also: Low hanging fruits for Tinubunomics

According to him, the new government must curb reliance on imported goods. Importation of non-essential products will be discouraged through policy measures including luxury taxes, higher tariffs, and higher processing fees. We shall review the corporate tax system and deploy technology and effective policies to better rationalize the system. Our aim is to create a progressive tax regime, plug harmful loopholes, enhance the efficiency of collection and give the people a greater sense of responsibility in relation to their taxes.

We shall streamline the amount that the government spends on itself. A cap will be placed on fiscal expenditures for the construction of government buildings and on the salaries and related compensation packages of elected officials and senior personnel in the executive branch of the Federal Government.

Such expenditures will have a low priority in our government. To ensure that exchange rate policy harmonizes with the government’s goals of optimal growth and job creation driven by industrial, agricultural and infrastructural expansion, he said, we will work with the Central Bank and the financial sector to carefully review and better optimize the exchange rate regime.

Our economic policies shall be guided by our desire for a stronger, more stable naira founded upon a vibrant and productive real economy. We can protect our exchange rate, guard against inflation and preserve foreign currency reserves by limiting our exposure to large debt obligations denominated in foreign currency. Our government will make it a priority to encourage industries vital to national development. This means growing our industrial base to provide jobs to the expanding urban population.

Tinubu stated that through the development of an industrial development master plan, “we will: (i) extend tax and other credits as well as urban youth employment incentives to domestic manufacturing entities. Tariffs and other measures will be implemented to safeguard such industries. (ii) encourage domestic manufacturers and producers to add value to basic products thus promoting value-added industry and production. These incentives will include lower import tariffs on semi-manufactured goods production lines such as the automotive and IT industries (iii) Develop major and minor industrial hubs in each geopolitical zone. (iv) Promote IT to boost industrial creativity while spurring the financial inclusion of larger segments of the population by encouraging greater use of innovative new technology. (v) Provide tax credits, holidays and reduced interest rate loans to businesses that hire a certain percent of youth in their workforce and provide genuine on-the –job training and mentoring for their young employees.

Mortgage and consumer credit Reform: The various federal agencies meant to ensure home ownership are too small and fragmented. To address the housing deficit, we will ensure greater cohesion and efficiency by merging these agencies into a new, more competent body. This new entity will inherit the functions of existing housing authorities and shall be adequately capitalized by the Federal Government.

The agency will have a three-fold mandate to grant (i) grant low interest rate mortgages directly, (ii) guarantee qualified mortgages issued by banks; and (iii) purchase mortgages from private banks. The guaranteeing and purchasing of mortgages will incentivize banks towards mortgage lending and will deepen the secondary mortgage market.