FG to Nigerians: Let’s move into 2024 with hope

The federal government Thursday urged Nigerians to move into 2024 with hope, as the ongoing reforms of the Ahmed Bola Tinubu administration are already showing positive signs of a better future for the citizenry.

Minister of Information and National Orientation Mohammed Idris Malagi said this at the end-of-year world press conference in Abuja where he presented an overview of the achievements of the Tinubu administration across key sectors, since assumption of office May 29, 2023.

At the media parley were Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategies Bayo Onanuga, Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation Dr. Ngozi Onwudiwe, Director General Voice of Nigeria (VON) Jibrin Baba Ndace, Director General Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Abdulhamid Dembos, that of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Dr Mohammed Bulama and directors from the ministry.

Addressing the gathering, the minister said: “As we stand at the threshold of a new year, I wish to extend a message of hope and optimism. The reforms initiated by President Tinubu across the various sectors of our economy are sowing the seeds of transformative change, and as we enter 2024, we can anticipate the fruits of these efforts beginning to blossom.

“These reforms are not instantaneous miracles but deliberate steps towards building a stronger and more prosperous Nigeria.

“In the economic realm, initiatives aimed at creating jobs, attracting investments, and fostering sustainable growth are taking root. As we move forward, we can expect to witness the tangible outcomes of these efforts, with increased economic opportunities, improved infrastructure, and a business environment conducive to innovation and prosperity.

“As we look ahead, let us embrace the spirit of hope and resilience. Change takes time, but every step forward is a testament to the progress we are making as a nation. The journey towards a better Nigeria is a collective endeavor, and your support and optimism are invaluable in this transformative process.

“Let us move into 2024 with hope in our hearts, knowing that the reforms of President Tinubu are laying the foundation for a brighter and more prosperous future for all Nigerians.”

…Renewed Hope Agenda

He said the Renewed Hope Agenda anchored on Eight (8) Priority Objectives will help build a more just and equitable Nigeria.

According to him, “the 2023 Supplementary Budget of 2.176 Trillion, and the 2024 budget of N27.5 Trillion presented to the National Assembly by the President, both echoed the core tenets of the Renewed Hope Agenda, and serve as pivotal steps towards realizing the ambitious and transformative objectives of the Agenda”.

…Economic reform

The federal government noted that the bold and strategic move by the president to immediately remove fuel subsidy after his swearing-in was borne out of a commitment to fiscal responsibility and a keen eye on national progress.

This, he said, is a testament to the administration’s dedication to effective resource allocation and blocking avenues of wastage.

“The removal of the fuel subsidy is a decisive step towards channeling resources where they matter most – impacting sectors critical to our national development.

“By redirecting these funds, President Tinubu aims to bolster key areas such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, humanitarian, security and other sectors that directly influence the well-being and prosperity of our citizens.

“This move is not without its challenges, but it signifies our unwavering commitment to making difficult decisions in the interest of the greater good. It aligns with our vision for a Nigeria that thrives on efficiency, transparency, and responsible governance.

“Fuel subsidy removal is a crucial step towards a more sustainable economic future, and we are working tirelessly to ensure that the benefits of this decision are felt by all citizens,” he said.

…Social investment, humanitarian interventions

He said the administration has been taking all necessary measures to alleviate the pains being felt, and to cushion the impact of these reforms.

“These interventions are designed to serve as palliatives in the short and medium-term, while we wait to reap the long-term benefits of the reforms,” Malagi said.

He said some of the measures put in place to ameliorate sufferings occasioned by the reforms being undertaken by the administration are: “A provisional wage increment of N35, 000 monthly for six months, to enhance federal minimum wage, without causing undue inflation.

“Establishment of an Infrastructure Support Fund for States to invest in critical areas that will create an enabling environment for businesses

“Launch of a 100 Billion Naira CNG bus rollout programme, to deliver CNG-powered buses, and establishment of a Presidential Committee to drive implementation.”

The minister also said the federal government was finalizing the process for payment of a Cash Transfer of N25, 000 monthly to 15 million of the poorest and “A presidential directive for the release of 200,000 Metric Tonnes of grains from strategic reserves to households across the 36 states and FCT to moderate prices, and 225,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer, seedlings and other inputs to farmers.

“An access-to-credit programme for startups and MSMEs: providing N50 billion in Conditional Grants to 1 million nano-businesses across Nigeria between now and March 2024; and a new single-digit interest-rate Fund to provide N75 billion to support manufacturing enterprises; among others.

“We have launched the 3MTT programme that aims to develop 3 million technical talents by 2025, in line with the President’s vision for making Nigeria a global hub for digital jobs.

“Still in line with the jobs agenda, we launched the National Talent Export Programme (NATEP), to create one million service-export jobs over the next 5 years, and make Nigeria a global business outsourcing hub,” he added.

…Insecurity

Speaking on security, he said President Tinubu had demonstrated the commitment to securing the life and property of every Nigerian, by making the fight against insecurity a top priority of his administration as contained in the Renewed Hope Agenda.

He disclosed that comprehensive strategies including non-kinetic approaches are being implemented to address the root causes of insecurity to ensure a safer and more secure Nigeria.

He said President Tinubu “is also working tirelessly to ensure that our security apparatus is well-equipped, motivated, and strategically positioned to protect our nation from external and internal threats.”

“The President understands the multifaceted nature of the challenges, and his commitment extends beyond military interventions. It encompasses even non-kinetic approaches. The goal is not only to quell immediate threats but also to create an environment where citizens can live without fear and insecurity.

“Investments in the modernization and equipping of our security forces, intelligence agencies, and law enforcement are key components of this commitment. The Nigerian Air Force a few months ago took delivery of 4 new aircraft, to strengthen the fight against banditry and terrorism.

“Furthermore, efforts are underway to address the root causes of insecurity, including youth unemployment, poverty, and social inequality. The administration is dedicated to creating sustainable solutions that will not only tackle the symptoms but also address the underlying factors contributing to insecurity.”

…Naira scarcity

Responding to questions on what the federal government was doing to address the current naira scarcity; Malagi assured Nigerians that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was working round the clock to make Naira available for Nigerians.

He said: “Government is aware that there is this cry by Nigerians about scarcity of Naira notes. The Central Bank of Nigeria is already working in that direction. New notes are being produced and Nigerians will have more Naira to spend.

“It is not a deliberate policy to stifle Nigerians or take Naira from Nigerians like during the Emefiele days. That is not the case.

“It is a process that the CBN is undertaking that has created that shortfall and we are hoping that as we go into the New Year, we will see a more robust supply of Naira notes.”

…Agriculture, food security

Speaking on food security, the minister said in a bid to ensure food sufficiency and tackle the increase in food prices in the country, President Tinubu declared a state of emergency on food security.

He noted that the decision was in sync with the rechristening of the name of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

He said: “The declaration of emergency on food security was a decisive move that reflects the administration’s determination to address a pressing issue that directly affects the well-being of our citizens.

“It’s also a strategic response to the challenges that have hindered the growth of our agricultural sector and, consequently, threatened our nation’s food supply. President Tinubu, with foresight and determination, aims to fortify our food production systems, ensuring that no citizen goes without this basic necessity.

“|This measure signifies a call to action for comprehensive reforms, innovative strategies, and collaborative efforts among various stakeholders. President Tinubu is mobilizing resources and implementing policies that will not only address immediate concerns but also establish a resilient and sustainable food ecosystem for the future.”

…Foreign policy

On the foreign scene, he said the President was in Paris for the Summit on New Global Financing, followed by the G20 Summit in India, the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the Saudi-Africa Summit in Riyadh, the G20 Compact with Africa Conference in Berlin, Germany and the Climate Change Summit in the UAE.

He said Tinubu’s international engagement is not merely a diplomatic formality but a deliberate pursuit to showcase the immense potential and opportunities that Nigeria holds.

“Over the last couple of months, President Tinubu proved himself as the Chief Salesman for Nigeria, crisscrossing the globe to boost Nigeria’s image, foster international partnership and attract the needed foreign direct investment to our country.

“By establishing these connections, we aim to stimulate economic growth, create job opportunities, and enhance the overall prosperity of our citizens.

“The President seizes every opportunity to affirm his status as the Chief Marketing Officer of Nigeria, consistently reiterating the message that Nigeria is open for business and investment, and that the Federal Government will do everything to guarantee the sanctity of all domestic and foreign investment,” the minister said.

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