Tinubu: I’ll run private sector-driven economy

Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, yesterday unfolded his comprehensive economic plan before the organised private sector under the aegis of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group.

He promised to channel the path to economic recovery if elected in next month’s election.

Tinubu told the gathering made up of economic experts and businessmen in Abuja that the current security challenge must be resolved first to set the economic agenda in motion.

“First, to achieve the economy we seek, we must resolve the pressing security issues. No nation can flourish with terrorists and kidnappers in their midst,” he said on a day a Federal High Court, Abuja dismissed a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s suit seeking his disqualification and that of his running mate, Senator Kassim Shettima, from the February 25 election.

Justice Inyang Ekwo declared that the PDP lacked the locus standi to institute the suit, labeling the case as an abuse of court process.

Tinubu during his interface with the NESG described the private sector as very important to his economic plan, stressing: “My core belief is that the private sector must be the prime driver of economic progress.”

Continuing, he said: “However, the government establishes the framework within which the private sector must operate. If that framework is sound, the private sector will flourish. If the framework is frail or incomplete, then the private sector will struggle.”


His administration, he pointed out, would urgently address fiscal, monetary and trade reforms to effectively increase domestic production, thus serving to curb imported inflation and ensure better macro-economic stability by accelerating inclusive growth and job creation across Nigeria.

Principles expected to guide his plans and policies, he said, would tackle inflation, petrol subsidy and monetary policy.

His words: “I do not hold to the mainstream view that all forms of inflation are best tackled by interest rate hikes and shrinking the economy. Supply induced inflation does not lend itself to this harsh medicine, just as one does not cure a headache by plucking out one’s eye.

“I do not embrace the conventional wisdom that fiscal deficits by the national government are inherently bad. All governments, especially in this era of fiat currency, run secular budget deficits. This is an inherent part of modern governance.

“The most powerful and wealthiest governments run deficits, as do the poorest nations. A budget deficit is not necessarily bad.”

Citing Japan with its high borrowing and low inflation as an example, he said: “The real issue is whether deficit spending is productive or not. Unproductive deficit spending is a compound negative, especially if backed by excessive borrowing of foreign currency.

“This is not classroom economics but it is the lesson of the real economic history of nations. It is based on this idea that I believe we must remove the PMS subsidy immediately. It has outlived its shelf life as a public good.

“We will neither subsidise neighbouring countries’ fuel consumption nor allow a select few to reap windfall profits and hoard products.

“And the subsidy money will not be ‘saved’ because that means elimination from the economy. Instead, we will redirect the funds into public infrastructure, transportation, affordable housing, education and health, and strengthen the social safety net for the poorest of the poor, thus averting increased security challenges.

“Fiscal policy will be the main driver. Monetary policy is weaker and a less effective instrument. Bad monetary policy is, of course, destructive. But even good monetary policy cannot carry the load the fiscal arm can.

“Thus, we must steadily remove ourselves from the fiction of tying our budgets to dollar denominated oil revenues. This is effectively pegging our budget to a dollar standard. It is as outdated as the fuel subsidy itself. It is also restrictive and ties the economy to slow growth.

“Just as the common man must mentally sever the cord to the subsidy, the elite must sever the cord to this artificial fiscal restraint.”

On budgeting, Tinubu said it would be based on the projected spending levels needed to push real annual growth rate above 10 per cent while reducing the unemployment rate so that the economy can be doubled in seven years.

Accordingly, he plans to expand the manufacturing base to provide jobs and also create affordable goods and products for the population.

“For our industries to thrive, they need inputs, many of which are agriculture based.

“The present administration has invested heavily in agriculture, providing loans and expanding the country’s total area of cultivated land for crops, livestock and fisheries. We will also promote vibrant commodity exchanges that will guarantee minimal pricing for produce,” he said.

He added: “We will build on this, with a focus on using technology and expertise to accelerate growth in yields. We will deliver the critical infrastructure necessary to achieve the commodity transformations and agribusinesses to plug seamlessly into higher, more lucrative entry points in regional and global value chains.

“Building on this foundation, we will accelerate the faithful implementation of the “Infrastructure Master Plan” by adopting proven financing structures till we deliver an acceptable stock of hard infrastructure through seaports and airports; and road, rail and water transportation linkages that can support our desired economic growth.

“Fixing the perennial problem of energy supply is a top priority. There is no version of the world where Nigeria’s ambitions for itself can be achieved without solving the problem of how to provide energy to homes and businesses across the country.

“What we need to do, going forward, is to improve the enabling environment, further decentralise transmission and deliver cost reflective tariffs to attract more private investments in the sector.”

Other planned measures to reverse unemployment include focusing on the creative sector.

He said: “Taking the creative sector as one example of a sector that already engages millions of our youths, the sector has significant untapped potential for generating quality jobs and foreign exchange earnings for our country.

“From music to movies to fashion, when elected, our Administration will create a legal environment that can attract much-needed private investment into the sector, eliminate widespread piracy and copyrights issues, as well as support the development of quality hard infrastructure needs.”

Reviewing the current economic situation in the country, the former Lagos State governor said the restrictions placed on import and foreign exchange to promote industrialization has inadvertently led to smuggling, reduced revenues, impoverished consumers and raised production costs for firms.

To solve this, he said his administration would improve transparency and move towards a unified exchange rate.

By relaxing stifling trade and capital control policies, he said domestic and foreign investors would be encouraged to invest more in the economy.

He said: “Thus, unification of the Naira exchange and the transparency it creates will be a top priority of this administration when elected.”

Besides, Tinubu said his administration would “work to ensure all borrowing is geared towards productive economic activity, focusing on internal debt discipline.

“Closing fiscal gaps, promoting domestic revenue mobilization, implementing tax reforms, curbing corruption and optimising budget implementation are crucial for economic viability. Streamlining bureaucracy and reducing cost of governance will be imperative.

“Policy options to boost non-oil revenues are key to our revenue mobilization strategy. The use of technology to drive reforms implementation is crucial.

“Despite the adoption of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, government revenue from oil has continued to decline. We shall work in a coordinated manner to implement reforms that will remove the bottlenecks to the PIA implementation and attract increased inflows of investment into the sector, address issues of oil theft and vandalization of oil infrastructure, and promote an increase in oil production to tap into the current high oil prices.”

Fielding questions after his presentation on what to expect from him within his first 100 days in office, the APC flag bearer said he would hit the ground running by selecting a team of technocrats to help him run the country as he did when he was governor, stating that building a good team is important.

The APC candidate was accompanied to the NESG session by Governors Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and Dave Umahi (Ebonyi) as well as former governors Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) and Babatunde Raji Fashola (Lagos) who is also Minister of Works, among others.

Tinubu was the first among the top candidates to appear at the presidential dialogue on the Nigerian economy put together by the NESG.

The Chairman of the summit group, Mr. Niyi Yusuf, said the dialogue was meant to give effect to common and shared ideas on the economy between the group and critical stakeholders.

He said NESG was set up to promote and champion the reform of the Nigerian economy into an open globally competitive economy.

Court dismisses PDP’s suit seeking disqualification of Tinubu, Shettima

In dismissing the PDP suit, Justice Ekwo held that the case was caught by the principle of issue estoppel.

The PDP, in the originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1734/2022, had sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), APC, Tinubu and Shettima as 1st to 4th defendants respectively.

In the suit filed on July 28, 2022, plaintiffs challenged the validity of Tinubu to contest the 2023 presidential election as APC candidate on the ground that Shettima’s nomination as his running mate was in breach of the provisions of Sections 29(1), 33, 35 and 84{1)}(2)} of the Electoral Act, 2022 (as amended).

It argued that Shettima’s nomination to contest the position of vice president and Borno Central Senatorial seat contravened the law.

The PDP sought an order disqualifying the APC, Tinubu and Shettima from contesting the presidential election and pleaded for an order nullifying their candidacy.

It further sought an order compelling INEC to remove their names from its list of nominated or sponsored candidates eligible to contest the poll.

But the defendants, in their preliminary objection filed by Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) and argued by Thomas Ojo, urged the court to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction.

They argued that the plaintiff (PDP) lacked the locus standi (legal right) to file the case, which invariably was challenging the political party’s decision and its nomination of candidates for the polls.

They further submitted that such act was an internal affair of APC which they argued was non-justiceable.

The court agreed with the defendants that the PDP had no locus standi to file the matter, and emphasised that where there is no locus, the court has no jurisdiction.

On argument about non-disclosure of cause of action against the respondents, the court said that there was a nexus between locus standi and a cause of action.

Justice Ekwo therefore said that since the PDP had no locus standi, it also did not have any cause of action against the defendants.

He also agreed with the defendants that the suit was an abuse of court process.

“It is expressed in the provision of Section 29 (5) of the Electoral Act, 2022 that the right of action on the matter for which the applicant/respondent (PDP) has filed this action is given to ‘any aspirant who participated in the primaries of his political party’,” he said.

The judge said that it had been established that the PDP was not an aspirant in the APC.

“Therefore, there is no iota of law which supports this action. It is on this ground that I find that this case is an abuse of process and I so hold,” he said.

Justice Ekwo, consequently, dismissed the suit for constituting an abuse of court process.

‘Why Nigerians should vote for Tinubu, APC candidates’

Health Minister Osagie Ehanire yesterday asked Nigerians to vote wisely in next month’s presidential election by throwing their lot with Tinubu and his running mate Shettima.

Speaking during the Healthcare Transformation Coalition (HTC) Symposium with the theme Repositioning the Healthcare Sector: Creating the Pathway to an Effective Health System in Abuja, Ehanire called the APC candidates high-profile politicians with cognate experience in governance and leadership.

He said: “With the great respect we have for our party and the people’s choices and wishes, we must throw our weight behind our candidates, who emerged from a transparent and democratic primary process.

“But that phase was only the preamble to the actual election battle we faced against formidable opponents and for which we are called upon to join hands in reaching out to convince voters that APC and the illustrious candidates are the right choices for them to make.

“It is our responsibility as members and leaders of thought of the party to design and present to the public, the agenda we have crafted for them, which they can trust our candidates to faithfully execute and build upon.”

He said that the great benefits of voting APC were a firm assurance of continuity of programmes, with no hiccups, so that the country would not be taken backwards to begin all over again.

“The other advantage is that our country will be in the most assured of hands among all contestants.”

‘Tinubu Presidency will reverse mass exodus of doctors, nurses, others’

Also speaking at the event, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi said Tinubu, if elected as president, would reverse the growing trend of mass exodus (japa) of health workers, especially of doctors, nurses and pharmacists, by giving them their pride of place and providing a health system that works.

The APC candidate, he said, would similarly up the ante in terms of the budgetary allocation to the health sector and ensure that the funds are adequately utilised to ensure that every Nigeria can access and afford quality healthcare services, regardless of their class or demography.

Senator Abdullahi, who represented Tinubu at the symposium, expressed confidence that the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who have left the country to seek greener pastures abroad would return home when good things begin to happen under Tinubu.

He said: “These two Nigerians (Tinubu and Shettima) have proven without reasonable doubt that healthcare will surely make remarkable improvements under their leadership. For these two leaders, we have been given ample evidence of where they are coming from in terms of their antecedents as leaders of the states they govern, and what they did to healthcare in those states.

“They have shown enough passion in terms of their commitment, participation, along with the healthcare professionals they identified to work for them. They have a knack for the welfare of their citizens that they govern. They know that health is wealth.

“They are out to renew our hope in this country. Also, the younger Nigerians who think nothing good is happening in this country will have a rethink. I am sure they will re-japa back to the country just as they have japa out.

“With a Jagaban presidency, we should expect innovative policies that will turn around the health sector. As much as you say the budget is low, there is a fundamental question being asked: the funds available, how well are they utilised, and how well you have integrated all the support for healthcare coming from different sources.

“I believe the trajectory of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima has shown that they are capable of making resources to be efficiently utilised. One thing I will guarantee is that there will be proper utilization and integration of all resources so that they are all focusing on a common vision; a vision of a very productive, functional healthcare delivery system in Nigeria.

“It is also to transform the healthcare system into one that is accessible, affordable and that delivers quality service to people irrespective of where they are and their status.”

The convener of the HTC symposium and former Commissioner of Health in Lagos State, Dr. Jide Idris, in his remarks, added: “Hospitals only constitute 20 per cent of the sector. As professionals, we need to drive the health system. We are here to proffer concrete solutions to the sector.

“In Lagos, we were lucky to have a leader (Bola Ahmed Tinubu). He provided for us the wherewithal and political will. He knew the connection between health and economy. He was the first person in Lagos State to increase the budgetary provision to the health sector from N600 million in 1999 to over 12 billion in 2007.

“He also implemented a reform in the health sector, which placed Lagos State at a higher pedestal than other states. He created health institutions like Blood Transfusion, Ambulance Service, Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA), Health Service Commission (HSC), Drug Quality Control, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), and others.”

Tinubu deserves victory in presidential election – Danladi Bako

Co-Director, Strategic Communication, APC Presidential Campaign Council, Mallam Danladi Bako, said yesterday that Tinubu deserves victory in the February election because he is most qualified.

The veteran broadcaster spoke in Abuja shortly after being inducted by a group, Progressive Nation Initiative, as its National Patron.

Bako said: “Tinubu should not be voted for because he is Yoruba man, but he should be voted for because of his capacity and his past records of service.

“He designed the 25-year master plan for Lagos State that includes the rails to the blue line and all the structures he put in place.

“It also includes LASTMA, Eco Atlantic City, Lekki Deep Seaport and sanitation activities.

“Tinubu also shored up the revenue of Lagos State to about N51 billion per month, and the list is endless.”

According to the former Sokoto State Commissioner for Information, Tinubu deserves to be given the chance to occupy the highest seat in Nigeria.

On Tinubu’s running mate, Sen. Kashim Shettima, Bako recalled that when he was elected as Borno State governor, 20 local government areas (LGAs) were under the control of Boko Haram insurgents.

He said: “Before the end of his tenure, Shettima brought down the LGAs to only eight.

“By 2022, Governor Babagana Zulum told President Muhammadu Buhari that there is no any LGA under the control of the insurgents.”

Bako, also a former Director-General, Broadcasting Corporation of Nigeria, said a Nigeria under Tinubu would ensure sustenance of Buhari’s achievements as he would build on them.

“Tinubu’s presidency will benefit everybody and we should massively vote for him and Shettima, and APC candidates at all levels,” the Co-chairman said.

Earlier, the National Secretary, Progressive Nation Initiative, Pastor Olarewaju Omolayo, said that a Tinubu presidency would be a prophecy for faith.

“As far as Tinubu is concerned, there is no shaking as it is all about his antecedents and in all ramifications, he is the answer to the problems facing Nigeria,” he said.

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