On Monday, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu made an impassioned plea to the moral fiber of Nigerians to back his administration’s subsidy removal policy and other intervention initiatives.
He used the national briefing to explain why the policy was implemented in the first place, saying that since his administration took office just over two months ago, the country had avoided spending over a trillion Naira on the wasteful fuel subsidy.
Tinubu added more support for the charges by saying that the questionable subsidy scheme simply benefited smugglers and crooks.
“That money will now be used more directly and beneficially for you and your families,” he promised.
In response to the ongoing currency crisis, Tinubu stated that the government was keeping a careful eye on how the exchange rate and inflation were affecting gas prices.
He mentioned that there will be interventions of some sort in case that became required.
He acknowledged that the inhabitants of Nigeria were suffering as a result of the economic downturn, citing the rising cost of petrol as a primary cause of the country’s economic woes.
Anxiety and uncertainty permeate the atmosphere. To put it simply, I feel your pain. I really hope that more options exist. However, there isn’t. I didn’t come here to harm the people and the country that I love, therefore if there was another way I would have taken it,” he said.
What the President has to offer right now, he continued, is to ease the strain “our current economic situation has imposed on all of us, most especially on businesses, the working class, and the most vulnerable among us.”
He began by listing some of the measures he has taken that may be considered palliatives, saying, “Already, the Federal Government is working closely with states and local governments to implement interventions that will cushion the pains of our people across socio-economic brackets.”
Following through on campaign promises to reform business-unfriendly fiscal policies and various taxes, I signed four (4) Executive Orders earlier this month. The industrial sector will have the breathing room it needs to continue to thrive and expand thanks to the Executive Orders suspending and delaying the start of various taxes.
Between July 2023 and March 2024, the government plans to allocate N75 billion to “bolster the manufacturing sector, increase its capacity for expansion, and create good paying jobs.” Our goal is to provide seed money to 75 innovative businesses that can stimulate long-term economic expansion, speed up necessary structural changes, and boost output.
Each of the seventy-five manufacturing businesses would have access to N1 billion in credit at 9% per annum, repayable over a maximum of sixty months for long-term loans and twelve months for working capital.
Micro, small, and medium-sized businesses, as well as the informal sector, are seen as important growth drivers by our administration. With an investment of N125 billion, we would inject new life into this crucial industry, Tinubu pledged.
To elaborate, he said, “out of the sum, we will spend N50 billion on Conditional Grant to 1 million nano businesses between now and March 2024, where the target is to give N50,000 each to 1,300 nano business owners in each of the 774 local governments across the country.”
He expressed optimism that the scheme will ultimately boost financial inclusion by enrolling beneficiaries in the formal banking system and insisted that N75 billion would be used to assist 100,000 micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and start-ups.
Each business owner who wishes to participate in the program can expect to receive between N500,000 and N1,000,000 with an interest rate of 9% per year and a repayment period of 36 months.
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