We’ll unlock trillions in public wealth to boost economy – Tinubu

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu  has said the  federal government would create millions of jobs by unlocking the value of Nigeria’s vast public assets with a view to optimising and doubling the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The president said this Tuesday in Abuja at the inaugural Public Wealth Management Conference organised by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) with the theme, “Championing Nigeria’s Economic Prosperity.

”He said with economic revitalisation as its top priority, the federal government has a target of raising at least $10 billion in order to increase foreign exchange liquidity that would, in turn, stabilise the Naira.

Represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, the president highlighted a low-hanging fruit of identifying, consolidating and maximizing returns on government-owned assets worth trillions of naira.

“The Federal Government set a goal to raise at least $10 Billion (Ten Billion Dollars) in order to increase foreign exchange liquidity, a key ingredient to stabilise the Naira and grow the economy.

“At the core of this is ensuring optimal management of the assets and investments of the Federal Government towards unlocking their revenue potential. This includes our bold and achievable plan to double the GDP growth rate and significantly increase the GDP base over the next eight years,” he said.

Tinubu also said decades of mismanagement and underutilisation plagued the country’s assets spread across Nigeria and outside the borders, leading to revenue losses that have hindered economic growth.

He assured that the newly restructured Ministry of Finance Incorporated, which is to act as a custodian and active manager of these assets, would now take the centre stage.

President Tinubu said improved corporate governance, innovative partnerships and attracting alternative investment capital would significantly increase returns.

He called on all stakeholders to partner with the MOFI in optimising the strategic assets, stressing that collaborative effort would unlock the country’s full potential and create a brighter future for all citizens.

Also speaking, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy Wale Edun said the president was mindful of the pains of the administration’s reform programmes and was deploying appropriate mechanisms to address the challenges.

He assured that while 42,000 metric tonnes of assorted grains were being released with 60,000 metric tonnes to follow shortly, as part of measures to arrest food inflation, food prices would drop in the coming months as a result of government actions and policies.

He said: “I doubt if there’s anybody who doesn’t have experience of the increased sharpening in food prices, the national bureau of statistics have a figure for food as of January last year and a percentage by which they believe food prices have increased over the last year.

“The reality is we have engaged in major macroeconomic reforms on the fiscal side and it has come at a prize at this particular moment the cost of food and the availability of food is uppermost and I will just like to remind and inform us, President Tinubu has always said he will not leave the poor, the vulnerable the weaker in society at times like this. He has previously released strategic grain reserves, he’s currently releasing 42 thousand metric tonnes of food grains and he has a plan of releasing another 60 thousand tons of food grains.

“This is in addition to measures to make sure that whatever is in the stores come out at this important time and we expect food prices to stabilize and begin to fall in a reasonable period of time and in the meantime everything that can be done to put food in the market, on the tables of people will be done no matter what it takes.”

…On Ways & Means

The minister also said as a way of reducing the cost of governance, the federal government would be carrying out an audit of the Ways and Means as well as cut down on other extraneous expenditure.

He further said: “The CBN has led the way in pointing out that the Ways and Means have to be tailored down, have to be eliminated and that is what we too are doing. What we are doing in that direction, there was an inherited amount, N22.7 trillion backlog. We are monitoring it, it’s like when I am ready to pay a loan at the bank I audit it. I ask for an audit before agreeing on the sum to pay. But apart from that, how do you get your ways and means gap, you get your revenue up, you get your expenditure down as much as possible?”

At the  conference were Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Doris Uzoka-Anite, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Abubakar Kyari, Cross River state  Governor  Bassey Out,  and World Bank representatives as well as members of the private sector and the diplomatic corps.

…Confiscated food items

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has announced plan to distribute confiscated food products to alleviate the current hardships faced by Nigerians. 

It, however, clarified that the distribution would be preceded by the certification of the food items to ensure its suitability for human consumption.

Comptroller General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi said this in a statement Tuesday in Abuja.

He said the agency was donating the confiscated food items to Nigerians in response to the serious problems of food security and the skyrocketing prices of basic food items in the country.

In the statement signed by the agency’s spokesman, CSC Abdullahi Maiwada, the CG reiterated his commitment to furthering President Ahmed Tinubu’s food security agenda with this move.

He said “the dedication is firmly ingrained in the Service’s primary mission to serve the Nigerian people’s best interests, consequently promoting stability and prosperity in the country’s economy.”

“Furthermore, to alleviate the hardships faced by Nigerians and improve access to essential food items, the Nigeria Customs Service will facilitate the direct disposal of food items forfeited to the Federal Government. These items will be certified fit for consumption by relevant agencies and made available to ordinary Nigerians nationwide through equitable distribution in our Areas of Operations.

“The modalities for the disposal will be communicated through NCS formations nationwide, with a firm commitment to transparency, fairness, and public safety. It is our pledge that this exercise will be managed diligently to ensure that the benefits reach those most in need.

“The NCS remains resolute in its dedication to safeguarding the nation’s food security and advancing the economic well-being of all Nigerians. With the unwavering support and cooperation of the public, we will surmount these challenges and pave the way for a more prosperous future for our beloved nation,” it said.  

About Abdullahi M. Gulloma, David Agba Abuja and Blessing Anaro, Lagos

View all posts by Abdullahi M. Gulloma, David Agba Abuja and Blessing Anaro, Lagos →