Tinubu unveils his manifesto and vows to end petrol subsidies, Forex Crisis (Photos/Video)
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Candidate, Bola Tinubu, pledged in his 80-page Manifesto unveiled in Abuja yesterday to end the controversial petrol subsidy that consumes trillions of Naira annually, as well as to address the economy’s forex crisis.
In a related development, Aisha, President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife, declared in an interview with BBC yesterday that the ruling APC would win the 2023 presidential election and “hand over to another APC government.”
Tinubu’s campaign policy document, titled “Renewed Hope: Action Plan for a Better Nigeria,” was unveiled alongside Buhari’s inauguration of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) at the State House Banquet Hall.
In the manifesto, aside from phasing out fuel subsidy, Tinubu promised to accelerate full implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act and implement additional favourable policies to attract investment in deepwater assets within six months.
He said: “I will ensure the stability of petroleum product supply by fully deregulating the downstream sector and ensuring that local refinery capacity will meet domestic consumption needs.
“We shall phase out the fuel subsidy yet maintain the underlying social contract between government and the people. We do this by dedicating the money that would have been used on the subsidy to fund targeted infrastructural, agricultural and social welfare programmes ranging from road construction to boreholes, public transportation subsidies, and education and healthcare funding programmes.
“In this way, the funds are more directly and better utilised to address urgent social and economic needs. Our planned approach will not only mitigate the price effects of deregulation but will also result in the significant expansion of public infrastructure and improvement of public well-being.
“Subsidy removal and deregulation are, however, only part of the solution. To further increase our refining capacity, we shall focus on the rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries and shall consider, as a model, the joint venture partnership arrangements implemented by other leading oil-producing states and global petrochemical firms.”
On forex crisis hindering the economy, the document stated: “The recent dip in our exchange rate is primarily due to global supply and production shortfalls caused by global factors well beyond the scope of our control. Our diminished levels of oil production and the modest capacity of our manufacturing sector to expand production both serve to compound the pressure on the naira.
“Further compounding our difficulty is the fact that we are tied to an ineffective regime of multiple, somewhat arbitrary, exchange rates. This situation gives rise to financial dislocation, currency speculation and arbitrage. These practices divert much-needed funds away from productive endeavours that could employ hundreds of thousands of people and create products that improve average living conditions.
“To ensure that exchange rate policy harmonises with our goals of optimal growth and job creation driven by industrial, agricultural and infrastructural expansion, we will work with the Central Bank and the financial sector to carefully review and better optimise the exchange rate regime. Our economic policies shall be guided by our desire for a stronger, more stable Naira founded upon a vibrant and productive real economy.”
In the document, Tinubu promised to establish a highly trained and disciplined anti-terrorist squad to tackle insecurity in the country.
He also assured that the Police would be repositioned to deliver on its primary duties of community policing and maintaining law and order through crime fighting and prevention.
“Military units will be better equipped with tactical communications gear and new vehicles to give them a greater communications and mobility advantage over criminals, bandits and terrorists.”
He said his government would implement measures to eliminate attacks on vital national infrastructure, saying this would be known as Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Plan.
The manifesto indicated that integral to this effort would be the deployment of modern technologies, tools and equipment to end crude oil theft, prevent vandalism of national assets and reduce, to the barest minimum, environmental pollution of the Niger Delta.