President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s National Broadcast On ‘Current Economic Challenges’ was released strictly under Embargo until 7.30 pm, July 31 after the President had read it.
My dear Nigerians;
I’d like to speak with you about our economy. It is critical that you understand the rationale behind the policy steps I have implemented to address the major economic issues that this country has long faced.
I’m not going to belabour the point by using economic jargon and notions. I’ll talk plainly and clearly so you know where I stand. More importantly, so that you may see and hopefully share my vision for a better, more productive future.
For numerous years, I have continuously maintained that the fuel subsidy needs to be eliminated. This once-beneficial measure had served its purpose. Every year, the subsidy costs us trillions of Naira.
Such a large sum of money would be better spent on public transportation, healthcare, education, housing, and even national defence. Instead, it was going into the deep wallets and luxurious bank accounts of a small handful of people.
To enhance the manufacturing sector, we would spend N75 billion between July 2023 and March 2024 to increase its capacity to expand and create good-paying jobs.
Each of the 75 industrial firms will be able to obtain N1 billion in credit at 9% per year for a maximum of 60 months repayment.
Our administration recognises the importance of micro, small, and medium-sized businesses, as well as the informal sector, as growth drivers.
We would spend N50 billion of the total on Conditional Grants to 1 million nano enterprises between now and March 2024.
We have conducted multi-stakeholder engagement with various farmers’ associations and agricultural value chain players to guarantee that food prices stay affordable.
To that end, I have directed the transfer of 200,000 Metric Tonnes of cereals from strategic stockpiles to households in all 36 states and the FCT in order to keep prices stable.
We are also offering 225,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser, seedlings, and other inputs to farmers who have agreed to participate in our food security initiative.
Our objective is to encourage the cultivation of 500,000 hectares of farmland all through the year.
To be more exact, N200 billion of the N500 billion agreed by the National Assembly will be distributed in the following ways:
Our administration would invest N50 billion in rice and maize cultivation, totaling 150,000 hectares.
This extensive agricultural programme will be undertaken, focusing on small-holder farmers and utilising large-scale private sector agribusiness players with a track record of success.
In light of this, I have approved the Infrastructure Support Fund for States.
Part of our project is deploying buses throughout states and local governments for mass transit at a considerably lower cost.
In the same vein, we are collaborating with labour unions to establish a new national minimum wage for workers.
We will create financial provisions for prompt implementation once we have agreed on the new minimum wage and general upward review.
Unfortunately, there was an unavoidable lag between the termination of subsidies and the full implementation of these measures.
We’ll make it through this storm, President Tinubu.
And, as a result of the steps we’ve made, Nigeria will be more prepared and able to capitalise on the opportunities that await her.
In just over two months, we have saved over a trillion Naira that would otherwise have been squandered on an ineffective fuel subsidy that benefited mainly smugglers and fraudsters.
For example, we will keep our promise to make higher education more affordable for all by providing loans to students who need them.
We are also keeping an eye on the impact of the exchange rate and inflation on petrol costs.
I assure you, my fellow citizens, that we are emerging from the darkness into a fresh and wonderful morning, the president said.
Now I must return to work in order to make this idea a reality.
Thank you for taking the time to listen, and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.