President Bola Tinubu, in a recent address at Eagle Square, Abuja, emphasized that the era of petrol subsidies in Nigeria was over, as it was deemed unsustainable. He also pledged to review the naira re-design policy implemented by the previous administration and work towards unifying the country’s exchange rate windows.
Acknowledging the February 25 presidential election as the toughest since the First Republic, Tinubu described it as the best thus far. He humbly stated that his victory did not make him more Nigerian than others and emphasized that the opposition’s wisdom would not be disregarded.
During his inaugural speech, President Tinubu expressed gratitude to Nigerians for entrusting him with the mandate to lead the country. He assured the citizens that their trust was well-placed and pledged to govern rather than rule.
He said the recent currency swap introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, was too harshly implemented, given the number of unbanked Nigerians. The policy will be reviewed and his administration will treat both the old and new currencies as legal tender.
Speaking on fuel subsidy removal, Tinubu contended that since there was no provision for subsidy in the budget after June by the previous government, the money to be used for it would be channelled to other sectors.
He said: “We commend the decision of the outgoing administration in phasing out the petrol subsidy regime which has increasingly favoured the rich more than the poor. Subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources.
“We shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions.”
On monetary policy, the President said: “Monetary policy needs a thorough housecleaning. The Central Bank must work towards a unified exchange rate. This will direct funds away from arbitrage into meaningful investment in the plant, equipment and jobs that power the real economy.
“Interest rates need to be reduced to increase investment and consumer purchasing in ways that sustain the economy at a higher level.
“Whatever merits it had in concept, the currency swap was too harshly applied by the CBN given the number of unbanked Nigerians. The policy shall be reviewed. In the meantime, my administration will treat both currencies as legal tender.”
Tinubu expressed unwavering confidence in the Nigerian people and their capacity to shape a better future for the nation. He acknowledged the hardships endured by Nigerians, which would have destabilized other societies, and emphasized the progress made in consolidating Nigeria’s democracy.
Recognizing Muhammadu Buhari, his predecessor, as an honest and patriotic leader, Tinubu commended his efforts for the nation. He also emphasized the unity of the country, stating that Nigeria would continue to exist and serve as a beacon of hope for the black race.
The President assured the people that his administration would govern on their behalf, seeking consultation and dialogue rather than imposing its will. He pledged to mend and heal the nation, not tear it apart, and acknowledged the importance of legal redress and the rule of law, respecting the rights of those who contested the election results.
Tinubu extended a hand of fellowship to those who did not vote for him, emphasizing the need to transcend political divisions and unite as Nigerians. He called for a commitment to making Nigeria the indispensable home for all its citizens, irrespective of creed, ethnicity, or place of birth.
The President’s address reflected a vision for a united Nigeria, emphasizing the need for economic reforms, unity, and inclusive governance to propel the country forward.