Editorial

April 8, 2024

Prioritise local investors

Prioritise local investors

Almost one year on, it has become crystal-clear that the President Bola Tinubu government is acting out a pro-West script both at the domestic and regional levels.

The aborted move to lead the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, countries to “flush out” the military regime from Niger Republic was not motivated by our national interest. Fortunately, Tinubu listened to wise counsel and pulled back just in time.

Apart from the removal of petrol subsidy on Day One of his regime, Tinubu has been on missionary journeys to India, France and Qatar in search of foreign investors. The International Monetary Fund, IMF, in its Post Financing Assessment, PFA, released in February this year, pressured the Federal Government to completely phase out subsidies on petrol and electricity because, according to it, this will help in restoring macroeconomic stability.

It was this same IMF and its Bretton Woods twin, the World Bank, that prevailed on the government of military President, Ibrahim Babangida, to implement its prescribed Structural Adjustment Programme, SAP, which subsequently made it difficult for us to have effective control of the economy.

Tinubu has not hidden the fact that the main thrust of his economic policies is meant to attract foreign investors. Enough attention is not being paid to our local investors and stemming the floodgate of the existing foreign investments closing shop, leaving the country or switching from production to importation.

We strongly believe that it is only when the existing local and foreign investments enjoy a thriving environment that other credible foreign investors will find it attractive to come and benefit. A good brand sells itself. We see how foreign investors are trooping to Abia State because of the good governance tone set by Governor Alex Otti. He has not travelled out even for one day to “woo” investors.

We call on the Tinubu government to go easy on Nigerians in the removal of subsidies. Everyone is still reeling from the removal of petrol subsidy and Naira floating. The inflation, hardship, hunger and unemployment they have brought are unprecedented. Adding the removal of subsidy on electricity, which will raise power bills to 300 per cent, is overdoing it.

Government officials are singing the same IMF tune that it will encourage foreign investment. What of our own existing millions of struggling businesses and industries which are faced with the imminence of closure? Government officials’ argument that it affects only “Band A” consumers won’t fly. With frequent grid collapses and capricious power seizures, it is virtually impossible to enjoy “Band A” service.

We must resist the IMF and World Bank’s war against subsidies in Nigeria. Every country provides subsidies for the domestic competitiveness of the economy and welfare of the people.

If government offers no benefits to the citizens, why should it even exist?