I WILL END PETROL SUBSIDY, TINUBU PROMISES
The presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu on Tuesday assured business leaders in the country that if elected in the February 2023 election, he would phase out Nigeria’s controversial petroleum subsidy regime.
He also told members of the private sector that his administration would reinvent Nigeria’s industrialisation and make the country a leader in the fourth industrial revolution by accelerating the production of made-in-Nigeria goods.
Tinubu declared these on Tuesday in Lagos during a town hall meeting with the business community/organise private sector (OPS).
“I am determined to give you affordable and reliable power to light the entire economy as we cannot produce without constant electricity. We have what it takes to bring it to you all; we have the gas, sun, wind and water. As for petroleum subsidy, it has to be removed and my administration would see to the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA),” he said.
He wondered why someone like him with six cars would still be paying same amount for petrol as some that doesn’t have any car.
The APC presidential candidate said his administration would carry out large-scale infrastructural renewal in a manner that would enable the country maintain a minimum of six per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. He also promised that his administration would collaborate with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the commercial banks to spur a massive consumer credit revolution in the economy.
Tinubu told the private sector players at the meeting, “We have to revive our industry. We shall bring the nation’s industrial policy to life. Key to this is our aim to create major and minor industrial hubs in each geopolitical zone.
“We shall not be satisfied by bolstering traditional sectors. We will foster productive excellence in new areas, such as light manufacturing and the Nollywood entertainment sector.
“Through active participation in the digital economy, we shall make Nigeria a leader, instead of a bystander, in the fourth industrial revolution.
“We must target double digit GDP and in the minimum six per cent economic growth to begin to reduce the poverty rate and I am determined to accomplish that.”
Tinubu also pledged to promote the agricultural sector by continuing to press for “reforms in the sector that will increase productivity, improve farm incomes while lowering food prices and bringing enough food to the tables of ordinary people.”
He said his administration would end the dismal state of the country’s power sector that had been the greatest undoing of Nigeria’s economy.
Tinubu added that the country must be enabled to produce and buy made-in-Nigeria goods through infrastructure development and consumer credit.
He said his government would empower citizens to, “Produce and buy made-in-Nigeria. We seek a consumer credit revolution, working in concert with the banking industry lead by the CBN. Credit at affordable rates enables the purchase of more cars and the construction of more homes. The standard of living shall rise and the strength of the business sector shall increase in similar measure.
“We must continue with the expansion of infrastructure commenced by the current government. From our roads and ports that will path the way to more commerce, to improvement in irrigation and water management/catchment systems to stem the humanitarian and economic tragedy visited on us by seasonal flooding.”
Tinubu assured the business community that his administration would continue the fight against insecurity, “by redefining our counterinsurgency doctrine and practice.”
He added that Nigeria’s response to terror, kidnapping, and violent criminality would be defined by the following elements: enlisting of “more people in the armed forces, security services and the police.
“Our forces will be given better tactical communications, mobility as well as improved aerial and ground surveillance capacity.
“Through these and other measures, we shall better identify, monitor, track, and defeat these evil groups where they are. They shall have no respite until they surrender or are utterly defeated.”
Tinubu said Lagos State was the appropriate location for the private sector engagement, because the state’s economic growth had become his visible experiment that could support his claim of competency and ability.
He said, “We turned this Lagos into a safer, more prosperous place where people can go about any legitimate vocation or venture regardless of their ethnicity, religion, region or prior social station.
“We did more than open Lagos for business. We opened the door for all Nigerians to join and experience the decent things progressive democratic governance can bring.
“May I remind you that when I first entered office, Lagos was a different story. My team and I developed a development master plan for Lagos. I can say that plan has been largely successful. The pragmatic problem solving and teamwork that has improved the fortunes of Lagos is what I want to bring to the nation.
“I ask for your help, as the task ahead is doable but also difficult.”
Tinubu ended his address by saying, “What I have shared today is a brief overview of some thoughts on how to improve and protect our beloved nation.
“This town hall meeting is but the first of many sessions I would like to hold with you, the business community.”
In his own remarks, the APC vice presidential candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima, told the business leaders that his joint ticket with Tinubu was not promising them “heaven on earth, but we are promising a hope for a better tomorrow” attainable through respect for the sanctity of contract and rule of law. Shettima said this would help to attract foreign direct investment to Nigeria.
Shettima added, “The economic growth we are targeting can only be achieved by prioritising improvements in our judicial system. Our policy shall be based on judicial independence, access to justice for all, and equality before the law.”
The former Borno governor likened the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to the leader of the opposition in Kenya, Raila Odinga who failed to become president of the country after several attempts.
Odinga contested a series of elections, but lost, including the presidential election of this year won by President William Ruto.
According to Shettima, Atiku is more of Raila Odinga and not Abraham Lincoln of the United States of America.
“Leadership goes beyond glamourising poverty. We won’t glamourise poverty, we tackle poverty. I won’t tell you I have two pairs of shoes or I have a single wristwatch. Leadership goes beyond spewing dubious statistics or showcasing a mediocre performance as the governor of Anambra State.
“I respect Atiku Abubakar, but leadership goes beyond high-scale antics. A man who can’t unite his party, I wonder how he can unite a country.
“We are talking about artificial intelligence or big data or nanotechnology, but the training that an elder statesman got from Kano School of Hygiene was that of wole wole. The ability to sell bottled water doesn’t make one an expert on the economy. My parting shot is that Atiku Abubakar is not Abraham Lincoln; he is Ralia Odinga and come May next year, we are going to permanently retire the political tourists to Dubai,” he added.
Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; foremost entrepreneur and investor, Tony Elumelu; and founder of Zenith Bank, Mr. Jim Ovia, were among leading business leaders that graced the event.
Earlier, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, set the tone for the engagement, saying Tinubu’s meeting with the organised private sector put him ahead of other contenders in the presidential race. Sanwo-Olu said the meeting was a demonstration of the APC candidate’s commitment and seriousness to drive the desired change in the national economy.
Sanwo-Olu said his predecessor was no stranger to the needs, concerns, and interests of the private sector. He stressed that Tinubu was a visionary political economist, who understood the pulse of investors and possessed the magic wand to turn around challenges facing the business community and change their concerns to opportunities.
Sanwo-Olu said, “Asiwaju Tinubu is a man that has been able to combine political acumen with the understanding of the economy and economics of every jurisdiction. As governor of Lagos, Tinubu pioneered several firsts, which still stand till today. During Asiwaju’s tenure, he initiated the idea of the Economic Summit as a catalyst for economic development.
“He started in Lagos with the Ehingbeti Summit in 2001. That summit has continued to lead the successive administrations after him into various applaudable economic agendas.
“Under the Tinubu’s leadership, Lagos became the first sub-national entity to bring about the Independent Power Project (IPP) and first state to initiate the idea of establishing a seaport. Yesterday (last Monday), that vision came to fruition, as we witnessed the completion of Lekki Deep Seaport.
“This speaks to the sheer doggedness and audacity of this man of vision.
“Eko Atlantic City is today the biggest real estate developed in this part of Africa through reclamation of the ocean. All thanks to the vision of Asiwaju to turn problems to opportunities.”
The governor said the involvement of private sector professionals in public governance was an idea fiercely pursued by Tinubu during his tenure as Lagos State governor, stressing that the APC presidential candidate created a first-rated private sector-driven cabinet that remained the envy of every government in the current republic.
Sanwo-Olu said Tinubu would bring his private sector dexterity and acumen to bear in administering the country.
He stated, “Today, Tinubu is here as a politician and leader of our party. On the other side, you all see a man that is compassionate, intelligent, business-driven and has acumen to solve the challenges the private sector experiences on a daily basis.
“I present to you the man that has what it takes to lead this country forward to the prosperous future with Renewed Hope.”
Director General of Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, noted that marketing Tinubu to the business community won’t be a difficult task, given the antecedents of the candidate.
APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, who was represented at the event, said the party’s presidential candidate had the gravitas and capacity to lead. Adamu said Tinubu’s vision highlighted a new path of prosperity for Nigeria.
“Put your confidence in Asiwaju, he will not disappoint you,” Adamu told the business community.