Nigeria’s Economy Will Soon Weather The Storm -Shettima Re-assures


By Sunday Etuka, Abuja

Vice President Kashim Shettima has once again appealed to Nigerians to be patient with the President Bola Tinubu -led administration as it works tirelessly to improve the nation’s economy.

Senator Shettima made the appeal while speaking at the 2nd Chronicle Roundtable organized by 21st Century Media Services, publishers of 21st Century Chronicle, as part of its public service enlightenment series on Thursday in Abuja.

“Soon, Nigeria’s economy will experience significant growth once we’ve overcome these sacrifices. Positive changes will soon be evident across all economic indicators – inflation, per capita income, GDP numbers, poverty reduction, food security, and all aspects close to the hearts of our people,” he declared.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Communications, Stanley Nkwocha said, the Vice President who was the Guest Speaker at the roundtable explained some key policy decisions taken by the Tinubu administration as well as its Economic and Social Agenda, including the removal of subsidy on petroleum products, which he described as the ‘biggest elephant in the room’ before President Tinubu took charge.

While delivering his speech titled, “Because These Shortcuts Are Not The Right Ways,” the VP noted that though the decision to remove fuel subsidy was quite tough considering its negative impact on the lives of the citizens, it became an inevitable option when it was discovered that the immediate past administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari did not make provision for it in the 2023 budget.

He explained: “His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, chose the option that would save the life of the nation, instead of one that would merely prolong its imminent and predicted economic death. Before we took charge, the biggest elephant in the room was the question of fuel subsidy removal.

“We understood why our predecessor made the decision to remove it and refused to budget for it in their final fiscal year. The year before we took office, Nigeria’s debt service-to-revenue ratio had grown to 111.8%. The anticipated debt crisis may sound like fancy economic jargon to the man on the street, but you and I are in a better position to understand how such miscalculations have played out in other countries. It’s an economic death sentence.”In plain terms, our debt servicing was such that if you earned, say, N100,000, the entirety of the money wasn’t only paid to your debtor; you were forced to borrow an additional N11,800 to pay the debtor. How do you intend to survive this, and how many more loans before you become a pariah?” We are not even discussing the nation’s budget deficits, diversions of resources from critical sectors of the economy, and corruption masterminded in the subsidy regime.”

Acknowledging that government is a continuum, the VP said whoever had “succeeded the previous government would have either chosen to steer the ship through the storm as President Tinubu is doing or jumped ship and let the country implode.”

Senator Shettima regretted that for long Nigeria had endured economic sabotage, leading to the resolve by Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Yemi Cardoso, and the National Security Adviser, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, “to take matters into their hands to neutralise the overpowering influence of currency manipulators who had conspired to frustrate our reforms.

“Today, I stand proud to say that their interventions have translated into desired results, and Naira’s pushback against all odds is an inspiring journey that doesn’t have to be learned in Buenos Aires, as some would want us to do,” he added.

Earlier in his opening remarks, chairman of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated and former Finance Minister, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, praised the content of the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Tinubu administration, describing it as one of the most detailed and carefully crafted policy documents in the history of the country

He stressed the need for the Renewed Hope Agenda document to be reviewed and integrated into the medium and long-term development framework of the country, noting that policy consistency with a long-term vision to transform critical sectors of the economy, is the way to go.

Dr Usman also commended the administration’s establishment of a central coordination delivery unit to track the performance of programmes, policies and key interventions of the Federal Government, insisting that the monitoring of key performance indicators in the policy document was critical to the success of the government.

On his part, the CEO of 2nd Chronicle Newspaper, Malam Mahmud Jega had while welcoming guests to the event, said the need to critically analyse government policies and programmes was not just an expectation from the media but indeed borne out of the necessity to collectively contribute in shaping the nation’s development trajectory.

Also present at the event were the Minister of Information, Alhaji Mohammed Idris; Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed; Chairman of 21st Century Chronicle, Amb. Gbara Awanen; notable leaders in the media industry, Dr Ishaq Moddibo Kawu; Mallam Garba Shehu; Mr Segun Adeniyi, and Malam Mahmud Jega, among others.

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