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Tinubu gives ministers marching order to revive economy

President Bola Tinubu, yesterday, tasked the Federal Executive Council (FEC) with a marching order to roll out actions aimed at the revival of the economy and make life more bearable for the people.

He gave the charge to his ministers while presiding over his administration’s maiden FEC meeting, held at the Council Chambers of the State House, Presidential Villa, Abuja

Delivering his inaugural address to his 45 ministers, President Tinubu noted the urgency in the task before the administration as very enormous; requiring that all those charged with responsibilities must put in their best.

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He noted that the administration’s priority areas had been set out in its economic programmes and tasked them to be prepared not to fail as there is no impossibility in the dictionary of service to the people, adding that failure would not be explained away under his watch.

“We must find a home-grown re-engineering of our finances, manage our resources and let the economy work for the people of this country. There are so many things some cynics will say are impossible, but in your dictionary of service, everything is possible and must be possible. We have the talents; we have the level of intellectual capacity to turn this country around.”

He assured the ministers that he would be willing to listen to their concerns, saying: “I am ready to listen. Like I said to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Sunday, I am ready even for corrections, only God is perfect. Don’t be afraid to make decisions. That’s the burden of leadership. I know some of you are still looking for offices. I believe the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief of Staff (CoS), and Head of Service of the Federation (HOSOF) will work as a team to settle you down quickly.”

Addressing newsmen at the post-FEC briefing, the ministers explained that the meeting centred around the plans of the administration to revive the economy.

Five ministers, including those of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris; Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Wale Edun; Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Ali Pate; Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari; and that of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Anite; as well as the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, attended the briefing.

Edun said the Council agreed that the economy is not where it ought to be. He also said that FEC examined eight priority areas and identified targets to deliver in the next three years, adding that the President charged them to roll out policies and programmes to turn the economy around.

“Essentially, we went through an exercise of looking at where things stood regarding the economy, growth rate, exchange rate, inflation, unemployment and so on.

“The overriding conclusion is that we’re not where we should be and we also examined the President’s eight-point agenda, that is the eight priority areas for moving the Nigerian economy forward and for delivering to Nigerians and those are basically food security; ending poverty; economic growth and job creation; access to capital, particularly consumer credit; inclusivity in all its dimensions as regards youths and women; improving security; improving the playing field on which people and particularly companies operate; rule of law, and of course, fighting corruption.

“It is around those matrix that the plans and targets of what will be delivered in the next three years or so were identified, discussed and inputs were given by various ministers and we went away with the marching order to refine further the targets in particular and within weeks to start rolling out policies and programmes to turn around the economy and make things better for all Nigerians.”

Describing the situation with the economy inherited by the new administration, Edun said the Tinubu administration inherited a bad economy with an unacceptable high rate of unemployment, and with inflation standing at 24 per cent.

“Per capita has fallen steadily, inflation is at 24 per cent, unemployment is high, you know they are rebasing the way in which it’s calculated. Either way, it is high and youth unemployment is even unacceptably high, these are the key metrics that we have met,” he said.

He also said the Federal Government is not in a position to borrow money at this time, adding that emphasis is on how to create a macroeconomic environment where both local and foreign investors will invest and increase production.

“So, that is the plan. The expectation is that there will not be a reliance on borrowing. Rather, as revenues increase, as the benefit of removing fuel subsidy and the subsidy on the exchange rate, there will be more money for the government at all levels.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Anite, said the President plans to create 50 million jobs.

“In Mr President’s manifesto during his campaigns, he promised 50 million jobs and that’s our target. We will take it in phases; we are looking at different sectors of the economy that will contribute to this job creation, chief among them is the creative industry and the digital economy, and then the agric sector, agro-processing zones, and mining, oil and gas. So we’re very confident that we will achieve this,” she said.

Meanwhile, President Tinubu has directed the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs to freeze the processing of visas for all government officials seeking to travel to New York for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) without proof of direct participation in UNGA’s official schedule of activities.

The President’s directive is part of a broader effort to reduce the cost of governance in Nigeria. To prevent any sharp practice in this regard, the U.S. Mission in Nigeria is accordingly guided on official visa processing while Nigeria’s Permanent Mission in New York is further directed to prevent and stop the accreditation of any government official who is not placed on the protocol lists forwarded by the approving authority

 

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