Tinubu Speech: Five things to track, hold FG accountable for

President Bola Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu in his maiden national broadcast on Monday noted several intervention programmes put in place by his administration to ameliorate the plight.  

The president who’s removal of petrol subsidies and harmonization of the foreign exchange system are two prime policies he has adopted since coming to office on May 29 in an attempt to fix the economy. 

Tinubu disclosed that, “In a little over two months, we have saved over a N1 trillion 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 more beneficially for you and your families.” 

However, for accuracy and accountability, these are the key areas to track for proper implementation in the president’s maiden national broadcast.

  • To spend N75bn to create jobs in the manufacturing sector between now and March 2024

On measures to buffer the harsh effects of the policies being implemented to fix the economy, Tinubu cited the putting of N75 billion by his government for the creation of jobs in the manufacturing sector between now and March next year. 

He said, “To strengthen the manufacturing sector, increase its capacity to expand and create good-paying jobs, we are going to spend N75 billion between July 2023 and March 2024. Our objective is to fund 75 enterprises with great potential to kick-start sustainable economic growth, accelerate structural transformation and improve productivity.

“Each of the 75 manufacturing enterprises will be able to access N1 billion credit at nine per cent per annum with a maximum of 60 months repayment for long-terms and 12 months for working capital.”

These developments should be noted and keenly tracked for proper implementation.  

  • Energise SMEs with N125bn, devote N100bn to purchase 3,000 units of 20-seater CNG-fuelled buses

Tinubu disclosed that the federal government would energise the informal sector, as represented by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, with N125 billion.

According to him, “Our administration recognises the importance of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and the informal sector as drivers of growth. We are going to energise this very important sector with N125 billion.

“Out of the sum, we will spend N50 billion on a Conditional Grant to one million nano businesses between now and March 2024. 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 on-boarding 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 nine per cent interest per annum and a repayment period of 36 months.”

He itemized other programmes to include rolling out 3,000 units of 20-seater CNG-fuelled buses at a cost of over N100 billion for distribution to states and local governments.

“These buses will be shared with major transportation companies in the states, using the intensity of travel per capital,” the president said. “Participating transport companies will be able to access credit under this facility at nine per cent per annum with a 60 months repayment period,” he added.

  • Orders release of 200,000 metric tonnes of grains to households nationwide

The president noted that his government would ensure staple foods were obtainable and affordable by the citizenry, elucidating that he has ordered the immediate release of 200,000 metric tonnes of grains to households nationwide.

According to him, “To further ensure that prices of food items remain affordable, we have had a multi-stakeholder engagement with various farmers’ associations and operators within the agricultural value chain.

“In the short and immediate terms, we will ensure staple foods are available and affordable. To this end, I have ordered the release of 200,000 Metric Tonnes of grains from strategic reserves to households across the 36 states and FCT to moderate prices.

“We are also providing 225,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer, seedlings and other inputs to farmers who are committed to our food security agenda.

“Our plan to support the cultivation of 500,000 hectares of farmland and all-year-round farming practice remains on course. To be specific, N200 billion out of the N500 billion approved by the National Assembly will be disbursed as follows:

“Our administration will invest N50 billion each to cultivate 150,000 hectares of rice and maize.

“N50 billion each will also be earmarked to cultivate 100,000 hectares of wheat and cassava.

“This expansive agricultural programme will be implemented targeting small-holder farmers and leveraging large-scale private sector players in the agric business with a strong performance record.”

  • To liaise with labour for an upward review of minimum wage

The president guaranteed that a new minimum wage would soon be marked out for workers after necessary dialogue with the labour unions.

In his words, “We are also working in collaboration 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 it for immediate implementation. 

“I want to use this opportunity to salute many private employers in the Organised Private Sector who have already implemented general salary review for employees.”

  • Monitoring the effects of the exchange rate and inflation on gasoline prices.

Tinubu disclosed, “We are also monitoring the effects of the exchange rate and inflation on gasoline prices. If and when necessary, we will intervene.”

He also talked about the four Executive Orders he signed recently to address some unfavourable fiscal policies.  

“These Executive Orders on suspension and deferred commencement of some taxes will provide the necessary buffers and headroom to businesses in the manufacturing sector to continue to thrive and expand,” he stated.

Furthermore, Nigerian must take responsibility for holding Federal Government accountable for its promises for the implementation of those intervention programmes not to be funneled into the deep pockets and lavish bank accounts of the likes of  a select group of individuals Tinubu described as an “amassed group with so much wealth and power that became a serious threat to the fairness of economy and the integrity of democratic governance.”