President Bola Tinubu Thursday in Abuja said the task of turning around Nigeria’s economy from the age-long status of “potential to pragmatic’’ had started with the removal of fuel subsidy and unification of exchange rates, urging the 36 state governors to join the fray.
Inaugurating the National Economic Council (NEC), an advisory body comprising the 36 state Governors, CBN Governor, and other stakeholders, at the State House, President Tinubu listed eight priority areas for urgent attention and called for collective frameworks that will stimulate a buoyant economy that meets the needs of the poor and vulnerable.
The President assured the governors that the administration would address the issues that devalue the lives of Nigerians, with a focus on security, economy, jobs, agriculture, infrastructure, monetary policy, and fuel subsidy.
“It is worthy of note that the monthly meeting of NEC chaired by Vice President Kashim Shettima has remained officially the economic platform for robust dialogue among the federal government, the 36 state governors, the CBN, and other key stakeholders.
“In my inaugural speech of May 29th, 2023, I expressed this administration’s commitment to improving the lives of Nigerians in a manner that not just reflects our humanity, but encourages compassion towards one another and duly rewards our collective efforts to resolve the social ills that seek to divide us.
“I also listed the principles that will guide our administration and it is as follows: to be partial and govern according to the constitution and ensure the rule of law; to defend the nation from terror and all forms of criminality; to promote economic growth and development through job creation, food security and putting an end to poverty; to prominently feature women and youths in all our activities; to take proactive steps such as championing a credit culture and; to discourage corruption while strengthening the effectiveness and efficiency of various anti-corruption agencies,’’ the President said.
President Tinubu noted that policies and programmes of the government will be driven by compassion for the less privileged, and for more inclusivity, women and youths will be involved in the design and implementation of issues that impact their lives.
“It is evident that the task of growing our economy is enormous but you and I asked for it. We campaigned for it, we even danced for it, we begged for it, so we have no reason to complain. We must harness the growth potential of Nigeria and bring about serious development that will take us from ‘a potential nation’ to a pragmatic economic development in a rapid manner,’’ he noted.
President Tinubu urged NEC to stimulate ideas, through robust discussions, that will improve the livelihood of Nigerians, while highlighting the exigency for interventions on poverty.
“Members of this country are behind us, they want reform and they want it quick to impact their lives,’’ he added.
Rallying the governors for national development, President Tinubu said, “Collaboration is not a crime, please let’s do it.’’
The President noted that the three tiers of government will need to be involved in economic development, including the Local Government Councils, in order to ensure inclusiveness, collectivity, and ownership of policies and programmes.
“The National Economic Council was established by the provision of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. As one of the key bodies of the Federal Government, NEC has the mandate to advise the President on the economic affairs of the federation on appropriate measures for coordination of economic plans and programmes of the government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies,’’ he said.
The President emphasized that significant steps had been taken by ending the fuel subsidy and unifying the foreign exchange rate.
“This government will continue to transform the fortunes of our nation and bring about unprecedented development through good governance. We are committed to sustainable initiatives and programmes that will stimulate the rejuvenation of the economy without causing inflation.
“The plans and ideas we have presented, underscore our confidence and ability to meet the challenges of the day and pave the way for a better future,’’ President Tinubu said.
June 15, 2023