Business

Tinubu Seeks Business Community’s Support

All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has again restated his administration’s resolve to hit a double figure Gross Domestic Product (GDP) if he wins the 2023 presidential election.

Tinubu stated this on Tuesday during his townhall meeting with the Business Community and Organised Private Sector at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The town hall session had in attendance the Vice Presidential candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima, Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Simon Bako Lalong who is also the Director-General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Atiku Bagudu, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, Abubakar Badaru, Dapo Abiodun, Adegboyega Oyetola, Nasir El-Rufai and Abdullahi Ganduje as well as other party leaders and chieftains.

The business community was fully represented with President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, Jim Ovia, Chairman of Zenith Bank, Tony Elumelu, Chairman of UBA, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, former Chief Executive of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, Group Chief Executive of Access Bank and other business leaders representing sectoral groups such as agriculture, Oil and Gas, Trade, Manufacturing, creative Sector among others.

The APC presidential candidate laid out his Action Plan before the business leaders. Tinubu said having achieved similar economic success as Lagos State governor, he has the capacity to repeat the same in the country as president.

He said, “Lagos is an appropriate venue for this meeting.

“You may have heard that I was once governor of this dynamic economic force. However, may I remind you that when I first entered office, Lagos was a different story.

“My team and I developed a blueprint, a master plan, for Lagos. I can say that plan has been largely successful.

“We turned this state into a safer, more prosperous place where people can go about any legitimate vocation or venture regardless of their ethnicity, religion, region or prior social station.

“We did more than open Lagos for business. We opened the door for all Nigeria to join and experience the decent things progressive democratic governance can bring.

“We were not perfect but we did a lot.

“In doing so, we worked hand in hand with the business community as partners sharing the same goals of prosperity and renewed hope.

“Well, as you might have heard at some point recently, I now stand before you, seeking a bigger yet similar job.”

He therefore called on the Lagos Business Community to join hands with him to achieve this, stating that a viable economy requires collaboration between the political and business communities.

“Nigeria stands at the threshold between indifference and greatness, prosperity and poverty, the future and the past.

“The door is ajar. Together, let us open it so that we may cross over to the better side and secure for this beloved nation its finer destiny.

“The productive and beneficial things we seek do not lie in the sole domain of one sector. They reside in the cooperation between government and the private sector.

“I see no conflict between the business community and government. Yet, with equal conviction, I believe the private sector and government should constantly be at war.

“But they wage this battle not as enemies. They must stand as inseparable allies combating the mutual enemies of scarcity, underdevelopment, joblessness and the fear these bad things breed.

“The pragmatic problem solving and teamwork that improved Lagos, I want to bring to this nation.

“I ask your help as the task ahead is doable but also difficult,” he added.

He empathised that the nation needed to move from dependence on exporting its raw materials to nations who sell the finished products to us at exorbitant prices to one that refines its raw materials for upward export itself.

Praising the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for its patriotism and commitment, he itemised his administration plans to build on their achievements.

These, he said include reviving dead industries, promote agriculture, provide power, produce and use made in Nigeria goods, build infrastructure and most importantly improve the country’s security.

“From its very inception, our political economy has been imbalanced and in need of major reform. Our political economy is much too dependent on the export of raw material or unfinished goods and the import of increasingly expensive finished products. Over the course of the time, gains from natural resource exports will prove largely insufficient to meet the rising costs of imports let alone support even the most basic demands of modern democratic governance.

“The time is now to cure this lapse. And time is of the essence for it does not wait for man or nation.

“We commend the work of prior administrations, especially the present government. This government has performed with patriotism and commitment during trying times.

“We simply must go farther and faster. My experiences in both the private sector and elective office afford me a special appreciation of the economic potency that close collaboration between government and the business community can bring.

“Allow me to share a few ideas that provide some insight into my vision for a more prosperous and secure nation where hope is renewed and despair rebuffed.

1. Regular Dialogue – All Nigerians must be invested in our better future. We must maintain the channels and spirit of respectful and productive dialogue. At times what I say may help you. Other times, what you say may enlighten me. We must always talk and confer with the best of intentions. Just as this open door policy is with me before the election, I shall continue to honor it after the election.

2. GDP Growth Rate: We must target double digit GDP to begin to reduce the poverty rate and I am determined to accomplish thua

3. Revive Industry: We shall bring the nation’s industrial policy to life. Key to this is our aim to create major and minor industrial hubs in each geopolitical zone. We shall not be satisfied by bolstering traditional sectors. We will foster productive excellence in new areas such as light manufacturing and the Nollywood entertainment sector. Through active participation in the digital economy, we shall make Nigeria a leader, instead of a bystander, in the fourth industrial revolution.

4. Promote Agriculture: We shall continue to press reforms in the sector that will increase productivity, improve farm incomes while lowering food prices and bringing enough food to the tables of ordinary people.

5. Power Nigeria: I am determined to give you the affordable and reliable power you need to drive your businesses in a way that lifts the entire economy.

6. Produce and buy Nigerian: We seek a consumer credit revolution, working in concert with the banking industry lead by the CBN. Credit at affordable rates enables the purchase of more cars and the construction of more homes. The standard of living shall rise and the strength of the business sector shall increase in similar measure.

7. Build Nigeria: We must continue with the expansion of infrastructure commenced by the current government From our roads and ports that will path the way to more commerce, to improvement in irrigation and water management/catchment systems to stem the humanitarian and economic tragedy visited on us by seasonal flooding.

8. I have saved the single most important point for last. May I conclude with my thoughts on security.

“We shall continue the fight against insecurity by redefining our counterinsurgency doctrine and practice. Our response to terror, kidnapping and violent criminality will be defined by the following elements:

a. We shall enlist more people in the armed forces, security services and the police.

b. Our forces will be given better tactical communications, mobility as well as improved aerial and ground surveillance capacity.

“Through these and other measures, we shall better identify, monitor, track, and defeat these evil groups where they are. They shall have no respite until they surrender or are utterly defeated,” he added.

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