President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in New Delhi, India, admitted that some of the measures he put in place might hurt some businesses in the short term.
However, the president said these measures would sustain the economy on the long run. A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, quoted the president as saying:
“We are aware some of these measures may hurt operations of some businesses in the short term, but we believe they are right for a sustainable economy.”
The president said despite the fall in oil prices, his administration remained fully committed to maintaining macro-economic stability and improving investors’ confidence in Nigeria. At an interactive session with chief executives of Indian companies with interests in Nigeria, Buhari expressed the belief that with its abundance of human and material resources, the Nigerian economy did not have to suffer unduly from low oil prices, despite its severe impact on government revenues.
“What is required of us to which we are strongly committed, is the implementation of tight expenditure controls, effective fiscal and monetary policies, including the husbandry of scarce resources which our introduction of the Single Treasury Single Account (TSA) has begun to address,” the president said.
Noting that India has been a dependable ally and friend of Nigeria, Buhari urged the chief executives to expand their companies’ investments in Nigeria “so that we can, together, turn our engagements into a win-win situation for our two countries.” He said:
“We can increase and diversify the current volume of our bilateral trade beyond US$16.36 billion, and diversify to other critical sectors such as agriculture; green technologies in power generation; infrastructure; information and communications technologies, the services sector, education, industry, especially textiles and solid minerals among others.”
Buhari also urged the Indian CEOs, to accept the changes in policy being introduced by his administration and observe all extant Nigerian laws in running their business in the country. He warned, particularly, that his administration would not tolerate the importation of sub-standard goods, especially foods and medicines, into Nigeria.
Buhari, while addressing the Nigerian community in India, said he was fully aware of the expectations of Nigerians who elected him on the platform of change, integrity, probity and accountability, and was therefore doing his best to meet those expectations. He said:
“I wish to assure you that we shall do our best to fix the economy, create jobs for the teeming population of our youths and make the home environment safe, secure and more attractive to Nigerians outside the country like your good selves. On the economy, our aim is to address the challenge of infrastructure in all its ramifications, especially power and transportation.
We are seeking to create jobs through agriculture, mining, industrial value-addition and the promotion of small scale enterprises. We are also taking steps to address criminality across the country. We are tackling the menace of terrorism posed by Boko Haram head on and I am pleased to note that though sporadic attacks on soft targets have not stopped, the over-all capacity of Boko Haram to hold territory and determine the course of the conflict has been severely degraded.
If the current positive trends are maintained, we are confident that by the end of this year, we would have succeeded in permanently turning the tide against the Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria.”
The president reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to curbing corruption, plugging all loopholes in public sector accounting and deploying available resources for the good of all Nigerians.
Buhari declared that recovery of stolen funds and prosecution of persons who had been indicted for corrupt practices would also continue to be vigorously pursued.
The president said he expected the ongoing recoveries and prosecutions to serve as a deterrent to others who nurse the ambition of seeking public office solely for illegal personal gain.
He assured the gathering that his administration fully recognised the devastating consequences of the illegal diversion of public resources meant for national development into private bank accounts, and was doing all within its powers to stop such diversions.
“The anti-corruption campaign will be on-going for many years. We are committed to the enthronement of good governance that plugs the loopholes in public sector accounting, and the use of scarce resources for public good.
“We are determined to demonstrate exemplary leadership that will make our citizens change their ways in a manner that lays a solid foundation for reconstruction and development.
“I am confident that our approach to fighting corruption through value re-orientation, improved internal processes and systems and the rule of law as well as enhancing the capacity of the various anti-corruption agencies and institutions will prove more enduring in addressing this evil.
“In the meantime, we will continue to prosecute those who have been indicted for corrupt practices and ensure that stolen funds are recovered to serve as deterrence to others who nurse the ambition of seeking public office solely for illegal personal gain,” Buhari stated.