President Bola Tinubu has unveiled N500B package to ease pains faced by Nigerians following the removal of fuel subsidy.

President Tinubu made this admonition in a national broadcast on Monday

Tinubu emphasized Nigerians must bear the current economic hardship as a price to establish a “balanced” and just economy.

. The president who expressed his empathy during the broadcast told Nigerians that he understood the “hardship” they face but wished “there were other ways” to achieve an inclusive economy.

“Our economy is going through a tough patch and you are being hurt by it. The cost of fuel has gone up. Food and other prices have followed it. Households and businesses struggle. Things seem anxious and uncertain. I understand the hardship you face. I wish there were other ways.

“But there is not. If there were, I would have taken that route as I came here to help not hurt the people and nation that I love,” Tinubu said in a prepared speech delivered at 7pm. He recalled the imbalance caused by fuel subsidy payment and the “preferential” exchange rate system that ended up making “the elite of the elite” richer and the majority of Nigerians poorer.

“This group had amassed so much wealth and power that they became a serious threat to the fairness of our economy and the integrity of our democratic governance. To be blunt, Nigeria could never become the society it was intended to be as long as such small, powerful yet unelected groups hold enormous influence over our political economy and the institutions that govern it.

“The whims of the few should never hold dominant sway over the hopes and aspirations of the many. If we are to be a democracy, the people and not the power of money must be sovereign.

“The preceding administration saw this looming danger as well. Indeed, it made no provision in the 2023 Appropriations for subsidy after June this year.
Removal of this once helpful device that had transformed into a millstone around the country’s neck had become inevitable,” he noted.

Tinubu also pointed out the previous multiple exchange rate regime as one of the flawed systems that impoverished the country and handed the economy over to a selected few. The system, he said, “doled” out the resources that should have been used to create jobs to a “tiny elite” in the country on favourable terms.

The Plans

  • ‘New minimum wage is coming’ • 75 enterprises to get N1 billion single-digit loans
  • 1,300 nano businesses to get N50,000 grant each
  • 100,000 businesses, start-ups to benefit from N75b MSME funds
  • FG to invest N100b on 3000 gas-power buses for mass transit
  • To strengthen the manufacturing sector, increase its capacity to expand and create good-paying jobs, we are going to spend N75 billion between July 2023 and March 2024. Our objective is to fund 75 enterprises with great potential to kick-start sustainable economic growth, accelerate structural transformation and improve productivity. Each of the 75 manufacturing enterprises will be able to access N1 Billion credit at 9% per annum with a maximum of 60 months repayment for long term loans and 12 months for working capital.
  • Our administration recognises the importance of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and the informal sector as drivers of growth. We are going to energise this very important sector with N125 billion.
  • Out of the sum, we will spend N50 billion on a Conditional Grant to 1 million nano businesses between now and March 2024. Our target is to give N50,000 each to 1,300 nano business owners in each of the 774 local governments across the country.
  • Ultimately, this programme will further drive financial inclusion by onboarding beneficiaries into the formal banking system. In like manner, we will fund 100,000 MSMEs and start-ups with N75 billion. Under this scheme, each enterprise promoter will be able to get between N500,000 to N1million at 9% interest per annum and a repayment period of 36 months.
  • To further ensure that prices of food items remain affordable, we have had a multi-stakeholder engagement with various farmers’ associations and operators within the agricultural value chain.
  • In the short and immediate terms, we will ensure staple foods are available and affordable. To this end, I have ordered the release of 200,000 Metric Tonnes of grains from strategic reserves to households across the 36 states and FCT to moderate prices. We are also providing 225,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer, seedlings and other inputs to farmers who are committed to our food security agenda.
  • Our plan to support cultivation of 500,000 hectares of farmland and all-year-round farming practice remains on course. To be specific, N200 billion out of the N500 billion approved by the National Assembly will be disbursed as follows:
  • Our administration will invest N50 billion each to cultivate 150,000 hectares of rice and maize.
  • -N50 billion each will also be earmarked to cultivate 100,000 hectares of wheat and cassava.

By gvoice

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