• Sunday, April 21, 2024
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Tinubu outlines plans to ease economic hardship

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President Bola Tinubu on Monday rolled out plans to reduce the burden of fuel subsidy removal with an N125b plan for Medium and Small scale enterprises, amongst others.

The President said his administration is monitoring the effects of the exchange rate and inflation on the prices of petroleum products and indicated that he would intervene if necessary.

He announced measures to mitigate the effects of the petroleum subsidy removal: “We are also monitoring the effects of the exchange rate and inflation on gasoline prices. If and when necessary, we will intervene.”

President Tinubu explained that his government will spend N50 billion on Conditional Grants to 1 million nano businesses between now and March 2024, saying, “Our target is to give N50,000 each to 1,300 nano business owners in each of the 774 local governments across the country.”

“Ultimately, this programme will further drive financial inclusion by onboarding beneficiaries into the formal banking system. In like manner, we will fund 100,000 MSMEs and start-ups with N75 billion. Under this scheme, each enterprise promoter will be able to get between N500,000 to N1 million at 9% interest per annum and a repayment period of 36 months,” he added.

The president recalPresidentigning of four Executive Orders to address unfriendly fiscal policies and multiple taxes stifling the business environment.

He said N75 billion will be spent between July 2023 and March 2024 to strengthen the manufacturing sector and increase its capacity to expand and create good-paying jobs.

“Our objective is to fund 75 enterprises with great potential to kick-start sustainable economic growth, accelerate structural transformation and improve productivity. He added that each of the 75 manufacturing enterprises could access N1 Billion credit at 9% per annum with a maximum of 60 months of repayment for long-term loans and 12 months for working capital,” he added.

Also, Tinubu disagrees with EIU’s prediction of a return to the CBN-controlled FX market.  

The President also said that he is committed to improving the welfare and living conditions of Nigerians, he approved the Infrastructure Support Fund for the states.

According to him, the new Infrastructure Fund will enable states to intervene and invest in critical areas, relieve many of the pain points, and revamp the decaying healthcare and educational Infrastructure.

He observed that the fund would also improve rural access roads to ease the evacuation of farm produce to markets.

While noting that with the fund, the states will become more competitive and on a firmer financial footing to deliver economic prosperity to Nigerians, he asserted that part of the administration’s programme is to roll out buses across the states and local governments for mass transit at a much more affordable rate.

He stated: “We have made provision to invest N100 billion between now and March 2024 to acquire 3000 units of 20-seater CNG-fuelled buses.

“These buses will be shared with major transportation companies in the states, using the intensity of travel per capita. Participating transport companies can access credit under this facility at 9% per annum with 60 months repayment period.

He also affirmed that the government is collaborating with the Labour unions to introduce a new national minimum wage for workers: “I want to tell our workers this: your salary review is coming.

“Once we agree on the new minimum wage and general upward review, we will make budget provisions for immediate implementation.”

Read also pPresidentBola Tinubu: We will spend N75bn on manufacturing.
President Tinubu said it is essential that citizens understand the reasons for the policy measures he has taken to combat the severe economic challenges of the nation.

He explained:” For several years, I have consistently maintained the position that the fuel subsidy had to go. This once beneficial measure had outlived its usefulness. The support costs us trillions of Naira yearly.

“Such a vast sum of money would have been better spent on public transportation, healthcare, schools, housing and national security. Instead, it was being funnelled into a select group of individuals’ deep pockets and lavish bank accounts.

“This group had amassed so much wealth and power that they became a serious threat to the fairness of our economy and the integrity of our democratic governance.

“To be blunt, Nigeria could never become the society it intended to be as long as such small, powerful, yet unelected groups hold enormous influence over our political economy and its institutions.

“The whims of the few should never hold dominant sway over the hopes and aspirations of the many. To be a democracy, the people and not the power of money must be sovereign.

“The preceding administration saw this looming danger as well. Indeed, it made no provision in the 2023 Appropriations for subsidy after June this year. Removing this once helpful device that had transformed into a millstone around the country’s neck had become inevitable.”

“Also, the multiple exchange rate system that had been established became nothing but a highway of currency speculation. It diverted money that should have been used to create jobs, build factories and businesses for millions.

“Our national wealth was doled on favourable terms to a handful of people who have been made filthy rich simply by moving money from one hand to another. This, too, was highly unfair.

“It also compounded the threat that the illicit and mass accumulation of money posed to the future of our democratic system and its economy.”

The president noted resident defects in the economy “immensely profited a tiny elite, the elite of the elite, you might call them. As we move to fight the flaws in the economy, the people who grow rich from them, predictably, will fight back through every means necessary.

“Our economy is going through a tough patch, and you are being hurt. The cost of fuel has gone up. Food and other prices have followed it. Households and businesses struggle.

“Things seem anxious and uncertain. I understand the hardship you face. I wish there were other ways. But there is not. If there were, I would have taken that route as I came here to help, not hurt the people and nation I love.

“What I can offer in the immediate is to reduce the burden our current economic situation has imposed on all of us, especially on businesses, the working class and the most vulnerable among us.”

The president furthPresident, “Fellow Nigerians, this period may be challenging on us, and there is no doubt that it is tough on us. But I urge you to look beyond the present temporary pains and aim at the larger picture. All of our excellent and helpful plans are in the works. More importantly, I know that they will work.

Also, read have saved over N1 trillion from subsidy removal – Tinubu

“Sadly, there was an unavoidable lag between subsidy removal and these plans coming fully online. However, we are swiftly closing the time gap. I plead with you to please have faith in our ability to deliver and our concern for your well-being.

“We will get out of this turbulence. And, due to our measures, Nigeria will be better equipped and able to take advantage of the future that awaits her.

“In a little over two months, we have saved over a trillion Naira that would have been squandered on the unproductive fuel subsidy, which only benefitted smugglers and fraudsters. That money will now be used more directly and beneficially for you and your families.

“For example, we shall fulfil our promise to make education more affordable to all and provide loans to higher education students who may need them. No Nigerian student will have to abandon their education because of lack of money.

“Our commitment is to promote the greatest good for the greatest number of our people. On this principle, we shall never falter.”

President Tinubu assured citizens, “We are exiting the darkness to enter a new and glorious dawn.”