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We’re focused on unleashing Nigeria’s full economic potential, says Tinubu

We’re focused on unleashing Nigeria’s full economic potential, says Tinubu
November 29
14:07 2023

President Bola Tinubu says his administration is focused on unleashing Nigeria’s full economic potential by concentrating on job creation, and access to capital for small and large businesses.

Tinubu spoke on Tuesday in Abuja during the opening session of the 2023 national engineering conference, exhibition, and annual general meeting  (AGM) of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE).

The president, who was represented by Vice-President Kashim Shettima, said the country can become a trillion-dollar economy, due to its rich population and resources.

According to a statement on Tuesday by Stanley Nkwocha, Shettima’s senior special assistant on media and communications, the president emphasised the importance of job creation, capital access, inclusiveness, rule of law, fighting hunger, poverty, and corruption to facilitate progress.

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He, however, expressed scepticism that the ambitious target could be achievable without taking into account the importance of the key elements encapsulated in the theme of the NSE conference, ‘Manufacturing, Competitiveness and Economic Growth’.

“The Renewed Hope Agenda of my administration is defined by our commitment to unleashing our country’s full economic potential, by focusing on job creation, access to capital for small and large businesses, inclusiveness, the rule of law, and the fight against hunger, poverty and corruption,” Tinubu said.

The president said he is aware of the hardship that most Nigerians are facing, adding that “the difficult times are indeed temporary, but the benefits will be permanent”.

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“I have had engagements with stakeholders across Nigeria’s manufacturing sector. I am very much aware of the problems and challenges that are uppermost in your minds: access to low-cost capital, multiple taxation, infrastructure issues, foreign exchange, export obstacles, among others,” he said. 

“I am happy to let you know that we are tackling, with unprecedented boldness and decisiveness, each and every one of these issues.”

TAX BURDEN REDUCTION

Speaking on taxation in Nigeria, Tinubu said his administration’s goal is to increase the country’s tax revenues while lowering the burden on individuals and businesses.

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“It may sound like a contradiction, but it is not: by streamlining the number of taxes, introducing greater efficiency, and blocking the loopholes through which leakages occur, we can and will deliver less burdensome tax regimes to businesses and employers of labour,” the president said.

“The government’s focus in foreign exchange has been to abolish an unwieldy and much-abused rate regime, setting the foundation for transparent price discovery and all the other elements required to attract substantial inflows into a properly-run official market.” 

“We are supporting the States with seed financing for a transformational Infrastructure Fund.

“In addition to this, the petrol subsidy reforms have led to dramatic increases in subnational revenues, which means the States have more resources to invest in infrastructure and other critical areas.”

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On access to capital, Tinubu said he has directed the establishment of a new single-digit interest rate fund to provide N75 billion to manufacturing enterprises, in addition to other targeted financing interventions.

“As you are also all aware, the Central Bank, now under new management, is back to prioritizing its core mandates of inflation management and exchange rate stability,” the president said.

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He urged the NSE to work closely with government and other stakeholders to “jointly chart a path to true and lasting prosperity for Nigeria”.

“Our administration requires your support to harness the immense opportunities in front of us, and to turn the promise of Renewed Hope into reality for the generality of our people,” Tinubu said. 

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“I once again offer you my solemn promise that I am committed to providing the enabling environment for every policy, legislation and action required for this to happen.

“I encourage you to engage in frank deliberations, and to emerge with a comprehensive roadmap outlining how, as a nation, we can leverage manufacturing, technology and innovation as the driving forces behind achieving the Eight (8) Renewed Hope Agenda of this Administration”.

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Tinubu also reminded the NSE of the importance his administration places on monitoring and evaluation, while challenging them to focus more on measuring what has been accomplished.

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