2019 General Election: Former Vice President of Nigeria and current flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party( PDP ) for the presidency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is currently in Lagos State, the commercial capital of the country.
The business mogul turned politician addressed Nigerians at the Lagos Island Club Quarterly Business Lecture.
As many as claimed, this move by the opposition party has brought Atiku back on the spotlight and in the “loving arms” of his admirers all over the state because, since the “presidential debate saga” many were quite turned down by the PDP presidential aspirant.
The Waziri of Adamawa surely didn’t attend the event alone. Several dignitaries of the PDP were also in attendance.
The likes of the former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, PDP gubernatorial candidate for Lagos state, Mr Jimi Agbaje and his Deputy, Mrs Haleemat Oluwayemisi Busari, Ayo Adebanjo, Bode George, and the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.
According to Vanguard, Atiku, who is the main opposition to the sitting administration has also seized this opportunity to publicize his 13 point economic agenda for the nation come the February 2019 Presidential elections
The presidential candidate of the PDP said: “Unemployment has unfortunately been our only boom industry with over 13 million people joining the ranks of people without a job, which now totals 21 million.
If people do not have a job they struggle to feed their families which is why over 100 million of our people cannot afford one decent meal a day.
“What is also of cause for concern is that the majority of the unemployed are young men and women, who lack not only the means to survive but any hope for the future.
On the political front, our unity as a nation has been fatally bruised.
“Social cohesion is being eroded, democratic consolidation being undermined, and national unity and security threatened by ethni-religious tensions, agitations, restiveness, and disputes over titles and entitlements.
“Over the years, Nigeria has promoted, tolerated and indeed celebrated a defective political structure.
Our states and local governments are too weak to meet their constitutional responsibilities.
“Consequently, the Federal Government has succeeded in emasculating them and taking away those responsibilities and, along with these, the resources which belong to them.
“A modern, dynamic and competitive economy that is capable of taking its rightful place among the top 20 economies of the world.
Nigeria has the potential to double its GDP by 2025.
“A strong economy that is capable of providing in the next 5 years, a minimum 3 million job opportunities annually, reducing poverty rates to below 20% and significantly closing the income inequality gaps.
“A Nigeria that guarantees citizens’ access to economic opportunities and makes the basic needs of life, including health, education, electricity, water, and housing, readily available and affordable for everyone.
A new political structure that guarantees freedoms and ensures accountability at all levels of government.
“A country that recognizes the central place of the rule of law and ensures the supremacy of law over all persons and authorities.
The Nigerian constitution will be the anchor on which the independence of the judiciary, personal liberty and democratic and other fundamental rights rest.
Speaking on his vision to get Nigeria working again, Atiku reeled out ten policies he would focus on immediately he is elected.
1. “We will restore investor confidence on the Nigerian economy.
We all know that over the last four years, the actions or inactions of the Federal Government, have resulted in a significant drop in investor confidence in the Nigerian economy. As a consequence, there has been a significant decline in capital importation since the regime came into power in 2015.
Present day Ghana ( Gold Coast) – a country with less than 20% of our population – attracts more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) than Nigeria.
In order to annul that orientation, our economic policies will be more articulate, dependable and therefore, more foreseeable by investors.
There’s no other thing that could cripple investment than an environment that is full of policy U-turns.
2. “We will support the private sector by undertaking reforms to unleash its growth potential and to play a key role in the economy. #TheAtikuPlan recognizes the private sector as the engine of growth of our economy.
A strong, productive and pro-growth private sector is needed to create wealth, generate employment opportunities and help fight poverty.
“We pledge to improve government consultations with the private sector in policy design and policy implementation.
We will work with the Organized Private Sector to identify ways to reduce the cost of borrowing, tackle incidences of multiple taxations and improve the availability of foreign exchange for legitimate production input purchases.
3. “We will liberalize the economic space and privatize all ailing enterprises.
In particular, the #TheAtikuPlan will undertake a de-regulation of the downstream sector of the economy, review the PIB and privatize all four State refineries that operate at 10% of their installed capacities.
We shall channel the proceeds from the privatization into a special fund for the development of education and health.
4. “We will assist the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to grow bigger and to be more productive.
As we all know, small businesses offer the greatest opportunities for achieving inclusive pro-poor growth, through increased self-employment.
Our focus shall be on improving their access to affordable, long term funds, provision of critical infrastructure as well as adequate training for their workforce to improve productive capacity.
5. “We will prioritize Human Capital Development. Our philosophy is that people are the fundamental reason for economic growth.
Accordingly, we will increase investments in the human development sub-sectors especially education and health by committing 25% of the budget to education and 15% to health under a collaborative process and within the 3G partnership.
6. “We will create jobs by growing the economy and promoting innovative flagship job creation programmes such as The National Open Apprenticeship Programme through which we shall enhance the capacity of Master-Craftsmen and women to train 1,000,000 apprentices every year.
Our National Innovation Fund and SME Venture Capital Fund initiatives will provide stable and sustainable long-term support to aspiring entrepreneurs.
7. “We will create an Economic Stimulus Fund with an initial investment capacity of approximately US$25 billion to support private sector investments in infrastructure.
Power sector reform will be a critical policy priority. Our vision is to accelerate investment to double our infrastructure stock to approximately 50% of GDP by 2025 and 70% by 2030.
8. “We will improve liquidity by undertaking fiscal restructuring and improving the management of our fiscal resources by:
9. Improving spending efficiency by reducing the share of recurrent expenditure and increasing the share of capital expenditure in the budget.
Recurrent expenditure over the medium term should not exceed 45% of the budget.
10. Raising additional revenue by blocking leakages from exchange rate adjustment.
The official rate on which the 2019 budget is based US$/N305 with a parallel market rate of approximately US$/365. FGN will appropriate the premium in excess of N60/US$.
11. “Reviewing subsidy payments on PMS. The Federal Government has set aside billions of Naira for subsidy payment in the 2019 budget.
This will instead go into the funding of education and health.
12. “We will build strong and efficient service delivery institutions for more effective coordination of government policies and for effective support to the development of a dynamic and internationally competitive private sector.
We will reposition the public sector to become more disciplined and performance-oriented.
13. “We shall, through constitutional means, achieve a new political structure that guarantees freedoms and ensures government accountability at all levels.
Our political reform shall reinforce the country’s concept of true Federalism by conceding unfettered autonomy to the subordinating units (states and local governments).”
Here are some mixed reactions from Nigeria’s Twitter community
A leader must know who he is and present himself that way
Sherishery(@Mz_sherifa) January 30, 2019
It’s your choice to make!
Nigeria needs a leader who shares its hopes and aspirations, who understands the complexities of the development process and who has the capacity to articulate an acceptable notion of development~@atiku #AtikuinLagosAgain pic.twitter.com/6muBXL4P8e
— Banji. (@dadabanji) January 30, 2019
Star Boy, the Game Changer, @ProfOsinbajo is speaking directly to the real voters from the cities to the villages. Our friend @atiku is talking to one Island club whose members will be reading Newspapers on Election Day#AtikuInLagosAgain pic.twitter.com/FkhBM1AMZe
— Tunde Eneji (@iameneji) January 30, 2019
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