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Nigeria’s Economy Not Distressed – Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu has challenged the notion that the Nigerian economy is in distress, highlighting the progress so far and the unprecedented opportunities for growth and development in the country.

The President said this when he delivered a speech at the Leadership Conference and Awards 2023, held at the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

President Tinubu was honored as the Leadership Person of the Year 2023 by the Leadership Group Limited, recognizing his exceptional leadership and the bold decisions he has made to reposition Nigeria towards economic prosperity.

Represented by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, the President shared key initiatives and investment efforts by the administration to support Nigerian businesses, students, and vulnerable households, as well as to enhance food security and attract foreign direct investment.

He said: “I should start by respectfully challenging that notion that the Nigerian economy is in distress. Distress suggests helplessness, being at the mercy of something we have no control over. But that is not the case here.

“We are in challenging times, no doubt, but these times have also been marked by unprecedented opportunities, to reset course and to build a new and sustainable economy, away from the rent-seeking and the waste that was once the order of the day.”

President Tinubu disclosed that intervention funds totaling N200 billion have been set aside to support Nigerian businesses; in addition to a new Federal Students’ Loan program and the Presidential Initiative on CNG. The N200 Billion Naira, according to the President, will be disbursed through three (3) new special intervention funds established to support Nigerian businesses.

On the Presidential Initiative on CNG, the President noted the “imminent rollout of these CNG-powered buses which will bring down the cost of transportation by as much as 50 percent.”

The President also highlighted the substantial increase in revenues accruing to the three tiers of Government since the removal of the petrol subsidy. “This means more funds are available to directly impact the lives of Nigerians through investments in critical infrastructure, social security, and other areas,” he said.

Other efforts of the Federal Government, aimed at bringing economic relief to Nigerians, include the commencement of negotiations, between the Federal and State Governments and Organized Labour, for a new minimum wage for the country; and the scaling-up of the social investment programme.

“For the poorest and most vulnerable among us, the Social Investment Programme, currently under review to reposition it for maximum impact, will support millions of households with direct cash transfers that will enable them to meet their basic needs.”

The President reiterated the gains of his administration’s robust investment drive: “Since we assumed office in May 2023, we have attracted $30 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) commitments into the real sectors of the economy, including Manufacturing, Telecoms, Healthcare, Oil & Gas, and others.”

“Those investments have already started coming into the country. Just a few days ago, I was in Qatar on an official visit, where the Emir assured me that a senior government delegation would visit Nigeria after Ramadan, to begin taking action on some of the new investments they are looking at here. I have asked the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy to directly interface with the Qatari authorities to ensure that speedy progress is made.”

While seeking support and patience from Nigerians, President Tinubu also paid tribute to the Late Sam Nda-Isaiah, founder of the Leadership Group Limited, and commended his wife, Zainab Nda-Isaiah for her continuing leadership.

“I will not close without paying special tribute to the memory of Sam Nda-Isaiah, the man who made this possible, who envisioned and built this into the media empire that it is today. Your memory will continue to live on, not only in our hearts but also in your brilliant writings and in the family and the business legacies that you left behind,” he said.

Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of media reporting that focuses on successes, and not just challenges.

“I ask for the continuing patience and support of all Nigerians, including the elite that is very well represented in this room today. To the Nigerian media, I urge you to strive to report not only the challenges but also the solutions and the opportunities as well. Ours is a story of a country that is taking the right steps, and feeling the fleeting pains that will come with this course of action. A glorious dawn is indeed assured.”

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