• Saturday, May 25, 2024
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Tinubu at WEF: We removed subsidy to reset the economy, avoid bankruptcy


President Bola Tinubu on Sunday, said petrol subsidy was removed to steer Nigeria away from bankruptcy and reset the economy towards growth. He also called on the advanced nations to promote policies of “collaboration” and “inclusiveness”, by injecting capital to support poorer nations tackle challenges in the areas of agriculture, food security, innovation, and technological advancement.

The President, in his opening remarks at the opening plenary of the Special World Economic Forum WEF, holding in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, noted that “capital formation is necessary to drive the economy, like agriculture, food security, innovation, and technological advancement must be an inclusive program of the entire world”

“ To this forum, it is valuable for us to share experiences and share the hope of the future. What is missing, is the words “collaboration” and “inclusiveness.”

The Nigerian leader, who counseled the global community against stigmatizing the poorer nations, added that “No one should be left behind. The fear of lack of capital in Africa, is real”

“Stigmatization is also a big challenge and I am glad the world is recognizing the need, that the type of population growth that Africa experienced and the diversity of its resources, must be married with economic opportunity. We must collaborate to do that”

President Tinubu also used the opportunity to draw global attention to the huge socioeconomic challenges in the Sahel region and the consequences for global stability, adding that “ We are encouraging the entire world to pay attention to Sahel, and the other countries around us”.

Speaking also on the situation in the Economic Community of West African State, ECOWAS, Tinubu recalled how the region was stabilize its political environment by “ wielding the big influence of Nigeria”.

He however, called on the global community to help strengthen trade, adding that “ As the chairman of the ECOWAS, I have wielded the big influence of Nigeria to discourage unconstitutional change of government. That is, stabilize it. Equally, we have eased the sanctions. We need to trade with one another, not fight each other. It is very, very necessary and compulsory for us to engender growth, stability, and economic prosperity for our people”

“The rest of the world needs to look at the fundamentals of the problem; not just ordinary geopolitically but it has to go to the root. Has the world paid attention to the poverty level of Sahel, and the rest of ECOWAS? Have they helped the infusion of capital and paid adequate attention to the exploitation and opportunities availed by the mineral resources available?

“Are we going to play a big brother’s role in a talkshop without necessary action? We just have to be involved in the exploitation, promotion, and prosperity of that region, in order to see peace, and stability, and economic growth”.

Baring his mind on the removal of fuel subsidy in Nigeria and the consequences, the President said “there is no doubt that it was a necessary action for my country not to go bankrupt, and to reset the economy and the pathway to growth.

“It was going to be difficult, but the hallmark of leadership is making difficult decisions. At the time, it ought to be taken decisively. That was necessary for the country. Yes, there have been drawbacks. Yes, there was the expectation that the difficulty would be felt by a greater number of people. But, of course, I believed that their interest that was the focus of government. It is easier to manage and explain the difficulties. But along the line, there was a parallel arrangement to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal on the vulnerable population of the country.

“We shared the pain across the board. We cannot but include those who are very vulnerable. Luckily, we have a very vibrant youthful population interested in discoveries by themselves and highly ready for the technology, good education; and committed to growth.

“We were able to manage that, and partition the economic drawback and the fallout of the subsidy removal equally; engendering transparency, accountability, and physical discipline for the country.

Speaking on the directions of his government, President Tinubu said it is “more important to focus on what direction we should go. I will pursue that rigorously”

The President also noted that policies put in place for currency management were necessary, equally to remove the artificial element of value in Nigeria’s currency.

“Hence, our local currency finds its level, competes with the rest of the world’s currencies, and removes arbitrage corruption and opaqueness. That, we did. At the same time, that is a two-engine problem in a very turbulent situation for the government. But we were able to manage that turbulence because we prepared for inclusivity in governance and rapid communication with the public, to (really) see what is necessary and what you must do.