President Bola Tinubu has given his first speech as the country’s 16th President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Tinubu was inaugurated on Monday at the Eagle Square, Abuja. Here are eight key points of his speech:
On worsening security challenges, Tinubu said, “Security shall be the top priority of our administration because neither prosperity nor justice can prevail amidst insecurity and violence.
“We shall invest more in our security personnel, and this means more than an increase in number. We shall provide, better training, equipment, pay and firepower.”
In revamping the economy, he said, “On the economy, we target a higher GDP growth and to significantly reduce unemployment. We intend to accomplish this by taking the following steps:
“First, budgetary reform stimulating the economy without engendering inflation will be instituted.
“Second, industrial policy will utilize the full range of fiscal measures to promote domestic manufacturing and lessen import dependency.
“Third, electricity will become more accessible and affordable to businesses and homes alike. Power generation should nearly double and transmission and distribution networks improved. We will encourage states to develop local sources as well.”
Tinubu promised that his administration would create meaningful opportunities for the youth, adding that he would honour his campaign promise of one million new jobs in the digital economy.
“Our government also shall work with the National Assembly to fashion an omnibus Jobs and Prosperity bill. This bill will give our administration the policy space to embark on labour-intensive infrastructural improvements, encourage light industry and provide improved social services for the poor, elderly and vulnerable,” he said.
On agriculture, Tinubu said, “Rural incomes shall be secured by commodity exchange boards guaranteeing minimal prices for certain crops and animal products. A nationwide programme for storage and other facilities to reduce spoilage and waste will be undertaken.”
He promised that agricultural hubs would be created throughout the nation to increase production and engage in value-added processing.
“The livestock sector will be introduced to best modern practices and steps taken to minimize the perennial conflict over land and water resources in this sector.
“Through these actions, food shall be made more abundant yet less costly. Farmers shall earn more while the average Nigerian pays less,” he added.
The President said he knew that infrastructural facilities are crucial to driving the economy, noting that, “We shall continue the efforts of the Buhari administration on infrastructure. Progress toward national networks of roads, rail and ports shall get priority attention.”
Nigerians have been grappling with fuel subsidy issues for a while, and Tinubu has made a categorical statement on it, saying “Subsidy is gone.”
“We commend the decision of the outgoing administration in phasing out the petrol subsidy regime which has increasingly favoured the rich more than the poor.
“Subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources. We shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions,” he said.
While addressing the apex bank and its monetary policies, Tinubu said, “Monetary policy needs thorough housecleaning. The Central Bank must work towards a unified exchange rate. This will direct funds away from arbitrage into meaningful investment in the plant, equipment and jobs that power the real economy.
“Interest rates need to be reduced to increase investment and consumer purchasing in ways that sustain the economy at a higher level.
“Whatever merits it had in concept, the currency swap was too harshly applied by the CBN given the number of unbanked Nigerians. The policy shall be reviewed. In the meantime, my administration will treat both currencies as legal tender.”
He also addressed the world on foreign policy, as he said, “Given the world in which we reside, please permit a few comments regarding foreign policy.
“The crisis in Sudan and the turn from democracy by several nations in our immediate neighbourhood are of pressing concern.
“As such, my primary foreign policy objective must be the peace and stability of the West African subregion and the African continent. We shall work with ECOWAS, the AU and willing partners in the international community to end extant conflicts and to resolve new ones.
“As we contain threats to peace, we shall also retool our foreign policy to more actively lead the regional and continental quest for collective prosperity.”