By Mohammed Idris
Exactly 100 days ago, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu assumed office following the popular mandate graciously bestowed by the good people of Nigeria, who elected him as the 16th leader of our country.
Since May 29, President Tinubu has been at his duty post, working assiduously to deliver on his campaign promises as enunciated in his Renewed Hope Agenda for a better and greater Nigeria.
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.
In addition to subsidy removal, President Tinubu took further steps to unify the multiple foreign exchange markets.
While these two vital steps to save the country from hitting the rocks brought momentary discomfort to Nigerians, President 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.
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.
In the last 100 days, the government set up a Tax and Fiscal Reforms Committee that is fully at work to deepen the ongoing reforms and reposition the national economy for long-term sustainability. A renowned Tax and Fiscal Policy expert is leading this committee. Part of the committee’s mandate, working with the state governments, is to simplify our complicated tax system, eliminate multiple taxes, streamline regulations that negate the ease of doing business, and close the over 20 trillion annual tax gap.
To ensure that Nigerians and businesses are not burdened with new taxes, the administration will promote efficiency in revenue collection. It will expand the tax net by ensuring that those not paying are made to pay while those not paying the correct amount are made to pay their fair share.
Within the last 100 days, President Tinubu has worked to promote political stability in Nigeria because he understands that there cannot be any meaningful progress and development without peace.
The administration has stabilised the polity and reduced tensions associated with ethnic and religious agitations by better managing our diversity. President Tinubu believes Nigeria’s heterogeneity is a strength to harness for national development. To strengthen the bond of national unity and social harmony, President Tinubu ensured balance in all the appointments into key government positions including that of service chiefs from diverse parts of the country.
While promoting peace and political stability within the country by carrying along every segment of our country, the President also prioritises adequate information about government activities and policy direction.
President Tinubu emerged as the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government within his 100 days in office. In this role, he has commendably raised the profile of Nigeria globally and within the West Africa sub-region, promoting the rule of law, defending constitutional order, and standing as a bulwark against military incursion into governance, especially in the Republic of Niger, where a democratic government was toppled recently.
It is not by accident that Nigeria continues to enjoy the respect of the rest of the world. It is so because of the firm and principled stand of President Tinubu for the ideals of democracy, rule of law and good governance.
In continuation of his drive to rejuvenate and revitalise the national economy, President Tinubu embarked on a journey to India accompanied by a select delegation of cabinet ministers and over 30 entrepreneurs across various sectors of the economy for the G20 summit. This initiative showcases Nigeria’s readiness to collaborate meaningfully for sustainable economic development.
In the last 100 days, President Tinubu has offered purposeful leadership and set the administration’s tone, texture, and character. The appointment of Ministers and allocation of portfolios bolstered the growing global confidence in the direction the President is taking in Nigeria. This action has renewed the trust of both the local and international communities in the ability of President Tinubu to revamp and retool the political economy for collective and shared prosperity. The spiralling confidence of the business community is the primary reason Equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange recently beat a 15-year record.
This period may be challenging, but the President has planted the seeds of national transformation, growth, and all-round development. Our appeal to Nigerians and the labour unions is to continue to support the government and show more understanding. We must continue to work hard and confidently press forward to the glory of a greater Nigeria.
Mallam Mohammed Idris is the Minister of Information & National Orientation