Foreign Currency

At World Economic Forum In Riyadh, Tinubu Justifies Fuel Subsidy Removal, Forex Market Management 

President Bola Tinubu on Sunday justified last May’s removal of fuel subsidy by the federal government as well as efforts currently being made by his administration to manage Nigeria’s foreign exchange market.

Speaking at the opening of a two-day Special World Economic Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the President highlighted Nigeria’s efforts to manage economic challenges, including the removal of fuel subsidies and currency management necessary to reset the economy and promote growth.

He justified the removal of the fuel subsidy in Nigeria, stressing that it was a necessary action to prevent the country from going bankrupt and to reset the economy towards growth. 

President Tinubu acknowledged that the subsidy removal was difficult and had drawbacks, but argued that it was in the best interest of the country.

He also revealed that his administration implemented parallel arrangements to cushion the impact on the vulnerable population. 

His words: “At the time, it ought to be taken decisively, that was necessary for the country. Yes, there have been drawbacks. Yes, there was the expectation that the difficulty would be felt by a greater number of people, but, of course, I believed it was their interest that was the focus of government. 

“It is easier to manage and explain the difficulties, but along the line, there was a parallel arrangement to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal on the vulnerable population of the country.

“We shared the pain across the board. We cannot but include those who are very vulnerable. Luckily, we have a very vibrant youthful population interested in discoveries by themselves and highly ready for technology, good education; and committed to growth.

“The currency management was necessary, equally to remove the artificial element of value in our currency. Hence, our local currency finds its level, competes with the rest of the world’s currencies, and removes arbitrage, corruption and opaqueness. That, we did. 

“At the same time, that is a two-engine problem and a very turbulent situation for the government. But we are able to manage that turbulence because we prepared for inclusivity in governance and rapid communication with the public, to (really) see what is necessary and what you must do”.

The President also called on the global community to pay attention to the root causes of poverty and instability in Africa’s Sahel region, emphasizing the need for economic collaborations and inclusiveness to achieve stability and growth.

President Tinubu while calling on bigger economies of the world to actively participate in the promotion and prosperity of the region to achieve peace, stability, and economic growth further canvassed for global collaboration and inclusiveness to drive capital formation and economic opportunities in Africa, particularly in the Sahel region. 

He also told participants at the WEF how, as the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, he has used Nigeria’s influence to discourage unconstitutional changes of government and ease sanctions, emphasizing the need for trade and economic prosperity in the region.

The President stressed that “the fear of lack of capital in Africa” and “stigmatization” must be addressed through inclusive programs that drive economic opportunity. 

He charged the global community to “look at the fundamentals of the problem” and “go to the root” of the issues facing the Sahel region and ECOWAS countries.

“The rest of the world needs to look at the fundamentals of the problem; not just ordinary geopolitically but it has to go to the root. Has the world paid attention to the poverty level of Sahel, and the rest of ECOWAS? Have they helped the infusion of capital and paid adequate attention to the exploitation and opportunities availed by the mineral resources available?” President Tinubu asked.

He emphasized the importance of economic collaboration, saying, “the capital formation that is necessary to drive the economy, like agriculture, food security, innovation, and technological advancement must be an inclusive programme of the entire world. No one should be left behind.”

The President also emphasized the need for stability and economic prosperity in the region, saying, “We need to trade with one another, not fight each other. It is very, very necessary and compulsory for us to engender growth, stability, and economic prosperity for our people.”

“The overall goal of the Forum is to facilitate constructive dialogue, identify concrete solutions, and promote collaborative action to address the critical issues facing the global economy, such as geo-political tensions, inflation, supply chain disruptions, and the impact of climate change”.

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

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