* Reels out administration’s agenda in manufacturing, others

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has said leveraging the nation’s population and resources, with main focus on unleashing Nigeria’s full economic potential, his administration’s Renewed Hope Agenda can build a trillion-dollar economy within the next decade.

This, the President noted, can be further facilitated by ongoing efforts on job creation, access to capital for small and large businesses, inclusiveness, the rule of law and the fight against hunger, poverty and corruption.

President Tinubu spoke on Tuesday in Abuja during the opening session of the 2023 National Engineering Conference, Exhibition and Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE).

The President who was represented at the event by his deputy, Vice President, Kashim Shettima, maintained that with its rich population and resources, Nigeria can become a trillion-dollar economy within the next ten years.

He however expressed disbelief that the ambitious target could be achievable without taking into account the importance of the key elements encapsulated in the theme of the NSE Conference, “Manufacturing, Competitiveness and Economic Growth”.

“The Renewed Hope Agenda of my administration is defined by our commitment to unleashing our country’s full economic potential, by focusing on job creation, access to capital for small and large businesses, inclusiveness, the rule of law, and the fight against hunger, poverty and corruption,” President Tinubu declared.

The President stated that he was not unmindful of the hardships being most Nigerians are enmeshed in, noting however that “the difficult times are indeed temporary, but the benefits will be permanent.”

Reeling out his administration’s efforts in transforming the economy and creating opportunities for citizens, Tinubu said, “I have had engagements with stakeholders across Nigeria’s manufacturing sector. I am very much aware of the problems and challenges that are uppermost in your minds: access to low-cost capital, multiple taxation, infrastructure issues, foreign exchange, export obstacles, among others.

“I am happy to let you know that we are tackling, with unprecedented boldness and decisiveness, each and every one of these issues.”

On taxation, President Tinubu explained that his administration’s goal is to increase the country’s tax revenues and reducing the burden on individuals and businesses at the same time.

“It may sound like a contradiction, but it is not: by streamlining the number of taxes, introducing greater efficiency, and blocking the loopholes through which leakages occur, we can and will deliver less burdensome tax regimes to businesses and employers of labour.

“The government’s focus in foreign exchange has been to abolish an unwieldy and much-abused rate regime, setting the foundation for transparent price discovery and all the other elements required to attract substantial inflows into a properly-run official market,” the President added.

On Infrastructure, Tinubu said, “We are supporting the States with seed financing for a transformational Infrastructure Fund. In addition to this, the petrol subsidy reforms have led to dramatic increases in subnational revenues, which means the States have more resources to invest in infrastructure and other critical areas.”

Hinting on access to capital, President Tinubu said he has ordered “the creation of a new single-digit interest-rate Fund to provide N75 billion to support manufacturing enterprises, among other targeted financing interventions.

“As you are also all aware, the Central Bank, now under new management, is back to prioritizing its core mandates of inflation management and exchange rate stability,” the President added.

He tasked the NSE to work closely with government and other stakeholders to “jointly chart a path to true and lasting prosperity for Nigeria”.

The President continued: “Our administration requires your support to harness the immense opportunities in front of us, and to turn the promise of Renewed Hope into reality for the generality of our people.

“I once again offer you my solemn promise that I am committed to providing the enabling environment for every policy, legislation and action required for this to happen.

“I encourage you to engage in frank deliberations, and to emerge with a comprehensive roadmap outlining how, as a nation, we can leverage manufacturing, technology and innovation as the driving forces behind achieving the Eight (8) Renewed Hope Agenda of this Administration”.

President Tinubu further reminded the NSE of the premium his administration places on monitoring and evaluation, just as he challenged them to focus more on measurement of what has been done.

His words: “As private sector leaders and stakeholders, let us measure our achievements not only by the profits we generate for owners and shareholders, but also by the number of Nigerians lifted out of poverty, the number of jobs created, and the impact our actions have on the fight against corruption.”

Also in attendance at the event were the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Benjamin Kalu; Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State; Deputy Governor of Borno State, Umar Usman; Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Engr Abubakar Momoh; Elder statesman, Engr Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu; Former Delta State Governor, Mr James Ibori; President of NSE, Engr Tasiu Gidari Wudil and President of the World Federation of Engineers, Engr Mustapha Balarabe Shehu, among others.

Stanley Nkwocha

Senior Special Assistant to The President on Media & Communications

(Office of The Vice President)

28th November, 2023