President Bola Tinubu addressed Nigerians in a state broadcast late Monday where he spoke largely about the nation’s economy and the impact of subsidy removal. He also announced some palliative measures to ease the burden of the fuel price hike on students and other vulnerable groups.
The president said that the decision to remove fuel subsidy was inevitable and unavoidable, as the country could no longer afford to spend over N1 trillion annually on subsidizing petroleum products. He said that the subsidy regime was unsustainable, inefficient and prone to corruption, and that it benefited only a few privileged individuals at the expense of the masses.
He said that the removal of fuel subsidy would free up funds for investment in infrastructure, health, education, agriculture and other sectors that would create jobs and improve the living standards of Nigerians. He assured Nigerians that his administration was committed to ensuring transparency and accountability in the management of the nation’s resources, and that it would not tolerate any form of graft or misappropriation.
The president also said that his administration was working hard to diversify the economy and reduce its dependence on oil revenue, which had been adversely affected by the global oil price slump and the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that his government had initiated various policies and programmes to boost non-oil sectors such as manufacturing, mining, agriculture, tourism and digital technology. He said that these sectors had the potential to generate more income, create more jobs and enhance the competitiveness of the Nigerian economy.
The president also spoke on the state of education in the country, saying that his administration was determined to improve the quality and accessibility of education for all Nigerians. He said that his government had increased the budget allocation for education from 7% to 10% in 2023, and that it had embarked on massive renovation and construction of schools, provision of learning materials and equipment, training and motivation of teachers, and implementation of curriculum reforms.
He said that as part of his efforts to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal on students, he had approved the provision of buses to the student union bodies of all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. He said that these buses would be used to transport students within and outside their campuses at subsidized fares. He also said that his government would soon launch a student loan scheme to assist students with tuition fees and other expenses.
The president also touched on other issues such as security, health, foreign policy, regional integration and national unity. He said that his administration was making progress in tackling the security challenges posed by terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, cultism and other forms of violence. He said that his government was collaborating with regional and international partners to enhance security cooperation and intelligence sharing. He also said that his government was investing in modern equipment and technology for the armed forces and other security agencies.
He said that his administration was also committed to improving the health sector by providing adequate funding, equipment, drugs and personnel for hospitals and primary health care centres. He said that his government had successfully contained the COVID-19 pandemic through effective measures such as lockdowns, testing, tracing, isolation and vaccination. He said that his government had procured enough vaccines for all eligible Nigerians, and urged them to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
He said that his administration was pursuing a proactive and pragmatic foreign policy that would advance Nigeria’s interests and values in the global arena. He said that his government was strengthening its relations with key allies such as China, India, Russia, United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan. He also said that his government was promoting regional integration and cooperation within ECOWAS, AU and UN.
He said that his administration was committed to fostering national unity and cohesion among all Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic, religious or political affiliations. He said that his government respected the constitutional rights of all Nigerians to express their views peacefully and democratically. He however warned against any attempt to undermine or threaten the peace, stability and sovereignty of Nigeria. He appealed to all Nigerians to shun violence, hate speech, fake news and divisive tendencies.
He concluded by thanking Nigerians for their support and cooperation with his administration. He urged them to remain optimistic and hopeful about the future of Nigeria. He assured them that his administration would continue to work tirelessly to deliver on its promises and aspirations. He prayed for God’s guidance and protection for Nigeria.