Tinubu Promises Growth, Job, Climate Reforms
By Adedapo Adesanya
President Bola Tinubu has promised fresh growth and job reforms in the coming months after he removed fuel subsidies and directed the float of the Naira to unify the exchange rate.
The Nigerian president made this known during his first address at the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York, the US, after he took over the helm of office from Mr Muhammadu Buhari in May.
He said, “To foster economic growth and investor confidence in Nigeria, I removed the costly and corrupt fuel subsidy while also discarding a noxious exchange rate system in my first days in office. Other growth and job-oriented reforms are in the wings.”
He acknowledged that these developments have come with hardships and reiterated that they were necessary for the country to reap long-term benefits as they would help bring investments into the country.
“I am mindful of the transient hardship that reform can cause. However, it is necessary to go through this phase to establish a foundation for durable growth and investment to build the economy our people deserve. We welcome partnerships with those who do not mind seeing Nigeria and Africa assume larger roles in the global community,” he said.
He called on nations to consider doing business with Nigeria as the country was interested in taking on investment in a mutual approach.
“The question is not whether Nigeria is open for business. The question is how much of the world is truly open to doing business with Nigeria and Africa in an equal, mutually beneficial manner.
“Direct investment in critical industries, opening their ports to a wider range and larger quantity of African exports and meaningful debt relief are important aspects of the cooperation we seek,” he said.
Speaking on the spate of recent coups on the African continent, Mr Tinubu called for more nations to support only democratically elected officials, adding that democracy was the ideal system.
“We must affirm democratic governance as the best guarantor of the sovereign will and well-being of the people. Military coups are wrong, as is any tilted civilian political arrangement that perpetuates injustice.
“The wave crossing parts of Africa does not demonstrate favour towards coups. It is a demand for solutions to perennial problems.
“Regarding Niger, we are negotiating with the military leaders. As Chairman of ECOWAS, I seek to help re-establish democratic governance in a manner that addresses the political and economic challenges confronting that nation, including the violent extremists who seek to foment instability in our region. I extend a hand of friendship to all who genuinely support this mission.”
On climate, President Tinubu spoke on its severe impacts on Nigeria and Africa, alluding to the recent disasters in Morocco and Libya.
He said, “Northern Nigeria is hounded by desert encroachment on once arable land. Our south is pounded by the rising tide of coastal flooding and erosion. In the middle, the rainy season brings floods that kill and displace multitudes.”
“African nations will fight climate change but must do so on our own terms. To achieve the needed popular consensus, this campaign must accord with overall economic efforts.
“In Nigeria, we shall build political consensus by highlighting remedial actions which also promote economic good. Projects such as a Green Wall to stop desert encroachment, halting the destruction of our forests by mass production and distribution of gas-burning stoves, and providing employment in local water management and irrigation projects are examples of efforts that equally advance both economic and climate change objectives.
“Continental efforts regarding climate change will register important victories if established economies were more forthcoming with public and private sector investment for Africa’s preferred initiatives,” he added.