.Vows to remove fuel subsidy, unify exchange rate
.To review Naira Redesign Policy
.Old, new currencies to run side by side
Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
President Bola Tinubu has assured Nigerians of his determination to govern, rather than rule them, promising to engage in consultations and never to dictate to the people.
In his inaugural address on Monday at the Eagle Square in Abuja, Tinubu also said there was no reason to continue with the current fuel subsidy, saying he intends to instead channel such funds to better developmental objectives.
Tinubu also condemned the Naira redesign policy which he said its implementation was too harsh on Nigerians.
While vowing to review the policy, he said both old and new currencies shall however continue to exist side by side as legal tender.
The president also described as credible, the election that brought him to power, saying since the advent of the fourth republic, Nigeria has not held an election better quality.
He said; “Our administration shall govern on your behalf but never rule over you. We shall consult and dialogue but never dictate. We shall reach out to all but never put down a single person for holding views contrary to our own.
“We are here to further mend and heal this nation, not tear and injure it.
“In this vein, may I offer a few comments regarding the election that brought us to this juncture. It was a hard fought contest. And it was also fairly won. Since the advent of the Fourth Republic, Nigeria has not held an election of better quality.
“The outcome reflected the will of the people. However, my victory does not render me any more Nigerian than my opponents. Nor does it render them any less patriotic.
“They shall forever be my fellow compatriots. And I will treat them as such. They represent important constituencies and concerns that wisdom dare not ignore.
“They have taken their concerns to court. Seeking legal redress is their right and I fully defend their exercise of this right. This is the essence of the rule of law.
“My supporters, I thank you. To those who voted otherwise, I extend my hand across the political divide. I ask you to grasp it in national affinity and brotherhood. For me, political coloration has faded away. All I see are Nigerians”.
Vowing to remove fuel subsidy, the president also directed the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN to work towards having a unified exchange rate.
He said; “We commend the decision of the outgoing administration in phasing out the petrol subsidy regime which has increasingly favoured the rich more than the poor. Subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources. We shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions.
“Monetary policy needs thorough housecleaning. The Central Bank must work towards a unified exchange rate. This will direct funds away from arbitrage into meaningful investment in the plant, equipment and jobs that power the real economy.
“Interest rates need to be reduced to increase investment and consumer purchasing in ways that sustain the economy at a higher level.
“Whatever merits it had in concept, the currency swap was too harshly applied by the CBN given the number of unbanked Nigerians. The policy shall be reviewed. In the meantime, my administration will treat both currencies as legal tender”.
On his foreign policy thrust, Tinubu said the crisis in Sudan and the turn from democracy by several nations in Nigeria’s immediate neighbourhood are of pressing concern.
“As such, my primary foreign policy objective must be the peace and stability of the West African subregion and the African continent. We shall work with ECOWAS, the AU and willing partners in the international community to end extant conflicts and to resolve new ones.
“As we contain threats to peace, we shall also retool our foreign policy to more actively lead the regional and continental quest for collective prosperity”, he stated.
Nation on paper
Tinubu also said the constitution has given Nigerians a nation on paper, adding that there is need for Nigerians to bring the document to life.
He said; “Our constitution and laws give us a nation on paper. We must work harder at bringing these noble documents to life by strengthening the bonds of economic collaboration, social cohesion, and cultural understanding. Let us develop a shared sense of fairness and equity”.
While he said in the coming days and weeks, his team will publicly detail key aspects of his programme, the new president outlined in broad terms a few initiatives that he said would define his concept of progressive good governance in furtherance of the Nigerian ideal.
“The principles that will guide our administration are simple:
“Nigeria will be impartially governed according to the constitution and the rule of law.
“We shall defend the nation from terror and all forms of criminality that threaten the peace and stability of our country and our subregion.
“We shall remodel our economy to bring about growth and development through job creation, food security and an end of extreme poverty.
“In our administration, Women and youth will feature prominently.
“Our government will continue to take proactive steps such as championing a credit culture to discourage corruption while strengthening the effectiveness and efficiency of the various anti-corruption agencies”, he stated.
On security, he said it shall be the top priority of his administration because neither prosperity nor justice can prevail amidst insecurity and violence.
“To effectively tackle this menace, we shall reform both our security doctrine and its architecture.
“We shall invest more in our security personnel, and this means more than an increase in number. We shall provide, better training, equipment, pay and firepower”, he said.
Tinubu also promised to ensure budgetary reform, stimulating the economy without engendering inflation will be instituted.
He said there will be an industrial policy that will utilize the full range of fiscal measures to promote domestic manufacturing and lessen import dependency.
“Electricity will become more accessible and affordable to businesses and homes alike. Power generation should nearly double and transmission and distribution networks improved. We will encourage states to develop local sources as well.
“I have a message for our investors, local and foreign: our government shall review all their complaints about multiple taxation and various anti-investment inhibitions.
*We shall ensure that investors and foreign businesses repatriate their hard earned dividends and profits home.
“My administration must create meaningful opportunities for our youth. We shall honour our campaign commitment of one million new jobs in the digital economy.
“Our government also shall work with the National Assembly to fashion an omnibus Jobs and Prosperity bill. This bill will give our administration the policy space to embark on labour-intensive infrastructural improvements, encourage light industry and provide improved social services for the poor, elderly and vulnerable”, he stated.
On Agriculture, the president said rural incomes shall be secured by commodity exchange boards guaranteeing minimal prices for certain crops and animal products.
He said; “A nationwide programme for storage and other facilities to reduce spoilage and waste will be undertaken.
“Agricultural hubs will be created throughout the nation to increase production and engage in value-added processing. The livestock sector will be introduced to best modern practices and steps taken to minimize the perennial conflict over land and water resources in this sector.
“With full confidence in our ability, I declare that these things are within our proximate reach because my name is Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and I am the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, he declared.