The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris has called on all Nigerians to exercise patience, acknowledging that the economic reforms implemented by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu bring short-term challenges and difficulties, but they are crucial for laying the groundwork for the desired economic growth and prosperity of the nation. Addressing the press on Friday in the backdrop of the Supreme Court ruling, he stated that the economy was tough for many countries, not only Nigeria, and that everyone needs to pull together to address the problems that have arisen.
Idris said the President has made it quite clear that he stood with all Nigerians, regardless of their location, ethnicity, political leanings, or religious beliefs. Removing petrol subsidies, as envisioned by the Petroleum Industry Act of 2021, would allow the federal and state governments to reinvest the savings in infrastructure and welfare projects, he said. Furthermore, the gradual liberalization of the foreign exchange policy was planned to address vulnerabilities and loopholes which have been exploited in very malicious ways over the years, resulting in the loss of billions of our scarce, hard-earned resources.
Reforms are implemented to boost the economy.
He said that no responsible government deliberately imposes hardships on its citizens. For the kind of country we want and deserve, he continued, “we are very clear in explaining that these pains that are being felt are a short-term sacrifice.” Provisional wage increases of N35,000 per month were provided for six months as part of the steps to ease the blow of the effects of the economic reforms. Idris also mentioned the government’s provision of an Infrastructure Support Fund to help states finance investments in key areas that would facilitate the growth of enterprises.
Five Executive Orders have been signed by the President of Nigeria since he took office, all with the stated goal of boosting Nigerian economic and fiscal climate and expanding the country’s access to foreign exchange. A Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reform was set up to reform the tax system and lessen the tax burden on Nigerians. Nigerians may rest assured knowing that the committee’s first set of reform proposals, which were just presented to the President, will be put into action.
Some of the initiatives were carried out with the state govt.
Also, he explained explicitly that easing tax obligations and hurdles Nigerians are facing is a primary responsibility of the committee. Preparations for a three-month Cash Transfer of N25,000 per month to 15 million of Nigerian poorest and most vulnerable households is also nearing completion. The recently announced student loan plan would be fully implemented by the federal government by January 2024. Some of the initiatives were being carried out, or were scheduled to be carried out, in conjunction with the respective state governments.
Distribution of grains and food items, cash transfers, and the deployment of CNG buses would also be done in collaboration with state governments. During the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Monday, the council granted approval for multiple financing packages that will provide substantial support to several states. This support will enable them to effectively implement various programmes, such as ensuring access to education for adolescent girls. Preparations for the Federal Budget of 2024 are also progressing well, according to the minister.
It is time for all of us to come together and move forward.
Last week, the budget’s foundational documents, the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Sustainability Paper (FSP), was approved. The minister assured Nigerians that the first Appropriation Act passed under the Tinubu administration would be one that prioritized the economic well-being of all citizens. Commenting on the Supreme Court’s ruling, he remarked, “Now that the legal contest regarding the outcome of the presidential election is concluded, it is time for all of us to come together and move forward, into a season of governing that is without distraction.”