Tinubu cites lack of electricity as greatest impediment to economic development
By Seye Olumide (Southwest Bureau Chief)
18 March 2022 | 3:09 am
National leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has proposed a seven-point agenda, which he said would revive the country’s troubled economy and drastically reduce its dependence on petro-dollars.
The APC presidential aspirant said his desire to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari is to further improve the nation’s economy to the benefit of all Nigerians, including generations unborn.
The former governor of Lagos noted that lack of electricity was perhaps the single greatest impediment to the country’s economic advancement, adding that the lack of power inflates costs, undercuts productivity, causing havoc to overall economic activity and job creation.
“Our economic situation is literally and figuratively in the dark. The hurdles we face are not technical in nature. We must convince those political and economic factors currently impeding our quest for reliable power to step aside so that we may obtain this critical ingredient to economic vitality,” he said.
He said Nigeria must realise that no populous nation has ever attained broadly-shared prosperity without first creating an industrial capacity that employs large numbers of people and manufactures a significant quantity of goods for domestic consumption or export.
According to him, “England, America and China had implemented policies to protect key industries, promote employment and encourage exports, explaining that these countries represent the past, present and immediate future of national economic achievement.
“A strong, common trend is their policies of buffering strategic industries in ways that allow for the expansion and growth of the overall economy.
“So, we must press forward with a national industrial policy fostering the development of strategic industries that create jobs as well as spur further economic growth.”
“Whether we decide to focus attention on steel, textiles, cars, machinery components, or other items, we must focus on manufacturing things that Nigerians and the rest of the world value and want to buy. We must partially reshape the marketplace to accomplish this.”
The presidential hopeful also proposed the need for the Federal Government to develop a policy of tax credits, subsidies that insulate critical sectors from the negative impact of imports.
He recommended a national infrastructure plan, noting that roads, ports, bridges and railways needed enhancing, and new ones need to be built with the goal being to develop a coherently planned and integrated infrastructural grid.
He said: “A national economy cannot grow beyond the capacity of the infrastructure that serves it. Good infrastructure yields a prospering economy. Weak infrastructure relegates the economy to the poorhouse. The government must take the lead. The focus on infrastructure has important corollary benefits.
“Federal expenditure for needed infrastructure spending has empirically proven in every place and in every era to boost recessionary economies and provide employment when sorely needed.
“Deficit spending in our own currency to advance this mission is neither a luxury nor a mistake. It is a fulcrum of balanced and shared prosperity. We must overcome the economic, political and bureaucratic bottlenecks preventing us from achieving reliable electrical power.”
Tinubu also proposed a credit-based economy, stating that credit for business investment was too costly in Nigeria. “The long-term economic strength of the nation is dependent on how we deploy idle men, material and machines into productive endeavors. And this is highly dependent on the interest rate,” he said.
He asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to purge itself of inordinate affection for high-interest rates, saying, lower rates were required for industrialists to borrow without fear that excessive costs of borrowing would consign them to irredeemable debts.