The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, says that President Bola Tinubu began his journey as leader of the country attempting to fix a battered economy he inherited from his predecessor.
Idris in a statement he signed on Tuesday, said the President met the country in a difficult situation with our public debts soaring both local and foreign.
He said this was against the backdrop of what he described as an unsustainable fuel subsidy regime which created a galling hole in the nation’s public finance, rendering the three tiers of governments insolvent and incapable of meeting the needs of the citizens.
“The President began the journey to rebuild our battered economy, realising that our country was in a difficult situation with our public debts – both local and foreign – coupled with an unsustainable fuel subsidy regime that created, for several decades, a galling hole in our public finance, rendering the three tiers of governments insolvent and incapable of meeting the needs of the citizens.
“President Tinubu took a bold and courageous decision to remove the fuel subsidy to avert a national economic catastrophe of epic proportions. Fuel subsidy was a Sword of Damocles that hung over Nigeria for decades. It stunted growth and set the country a-borrowing,” he said.
President Tinubu had during his inaugural speech on May 29 directed the removal of subsidy, which has drained billions of dollars from the country’s economy. The president also directed the unification of the exchange rate system.
Since the removal of fuel subsidy, many Nigerians have critised the action, saying it has caused them untold hardship
But Idris said while these initiatives by the President Tinubu’s administration to save the country from hitting the rocks brought momentary discomfort to Nigerians, Tinubu has never failed in his appeal to Nigerians to see the current inconveniences as a price we must all pay to save our country from disappearing.
He also spoke about the palliative measures introduced by the current administration to mitigate the impact of the removal of fuel subsidy.
He said, “Considering the people’s pains, the government rolled out intervention programmes to help cushion the unintended negative impacts of the reforms. These interventions include working out a minimum wage and salary increase, supporting states and local governments to enable them to cater for the most vulnerable among us, providing fertilisers to farmers, grains to households, cash transfers to people with low incomes. In addition to these, there are plans to roll out over 11,000 CNG buses for affordable public transportation among others.
“While striving to reduce the impact of the high cost of living on the citizens, President Tinubu has focused on redirecting our economy and removing the impediments to productivity and competitiveness so that the real sector can grow and create millions of decent jobs that are essential for long term economic growth.”