Shettima: Whoever Succeeded Buhari Would Have Made Tinubu’s Choices or Let Nigeria Implode

*Says economy already tottering towards eclipse when they took over 

*Hints Nigeria was subsidising fuel consumption of entire West Africa 

*UN declares country’s progress key to Africa’s devt

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

Vice-President Kashim Shettima, yesterday, said whoever had succeeded former President Muhammadu Buhari, would have either chosen to steer the ship through the storm as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been doing or jumped the ship and let the country implode.
Appealing to Nigerians to be patient with the current government as it steers the ship of state through the economic turbulence and storm it met on ground upon assuming office, he said the economy was already tottering towards an eclipse when they took over from Buhari.

Shettima, who made the call during the 2nd Chronicle Roundtable organised by 21st Century Media Services, publishers of 21st CENTURY CHRONICLE, as part of its public service enlightenment series in Abuja, was confident the economy would witness positive changes after the sacrifices.

Also, at another event, Shettima, yesterday, told the United Nations that the decision of the federal government to remove fuel subsidy was inevitable because the nation was literally subsidising the fuel consumption of the entire West African subregion.
At the same time, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Mohammed Fall, said the body would collaborate with the Tinubu government to ensure the success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.

For emphasis, however, he said, whoever had “succeeded the previous government would have either chosen to steer the ship through the storm as President Tinubu is doing or jumped ship and let the country implode.”
Yet, in another breath, he declared: “Soon, Nigeria’s economy will experience significant growth once we’ve overcome these sacrifices. Positive changes will soon be evident across all economic indicators – inflation, per capita income, GDP numbers, poverty reduction, food security, and all aspects close to the hearts of our people.”

Shettima observed that those, who contested the presidency with President Tinubu did not feel morally justified to question the decision to remove fuel subsidy, because it was part of the solutions they also tabled before Nigerians.
“This was because, whether in handling the subsidy matter or the forex crisis, they had also promised the solutions we had adopted. Those who attempted to eat their words were instantly proven wrong by data, history, and their antecedents—those emotionless reality checkers,” he pointed out.
Shettima, who was the Guest Speaker at the roundtable, explained some key policy decisions taken by the Tinubu administration as well as its economic and social agenda, including the removal of subsidy on petroleum products, which he described as the ‘biggest elephant in the room’ before President Tinubu took charge.

Appealing for patience and time to address the serious challenges they met on ground, especially the nation’s ailing economy which was already tottering towards an eclipse, the Vice President reiterated his optimism.
“We look forward to the positive impact on the economy that will be brought by some of our new initiatives in the oil and gas sector, creative arts sector, the newly rejigged steel and solid minerals sectors, our housing sector, the blue economy, and the digital sectors, to mention but a few.
“There is no doubt that there’s a time to plant and a time to reap. In between those times, we appeal for patience and seek collective sacrifice from all, especially from us. We wish there were a way to treat this ailment without surgery.”

In his speech titled: “Because These Shortcuts Are Not The Right Ways,” Shettima noted that though the decision to remove fuel subsidy was quite tough considering its negative impact on the lives of the citizens, it became inevitable when it was discovered that the immediate past administration of Buhari did not make provision for it in the 2023 budget.

According to him, “President Bola Tinubu, chose the option that would save the life of the nation, instead of one that would merely prolong its imminent and predicted economic death. Before we took charge, the biggest elephant in the room was the question of fuel subsidy removal.
“We understood why our predecessor made the decision to remove it and refused to budget for it in their final fiscal year. The year before we took office, Nigeria’s debt service-to-revenue ratio had grown to 111.8%.
“The anticipated debt crisis may sound like fancy economic jargon to the man on the street, but you and I are in a better position to understand how such miscalculations have played out in other countries. It’s an economic death sentence.

“In plain terms, our debt servicing was such that if you earned, say, N100,000, the entirety of the money wasn’t only paid to your debtor; you were forced to borrow an additional N11,800 to pay the debtor. How do you intend to survive this, and how many more loans before you become a pariah?
“We are not even discussing the nation’s budget deficits, diversions of resources from critical sectors of the economy, and corruption masterminded in the subsidy regime.”
The Vice President regretted that for long, Nigeria had endured economic sabotage, leading to the resolve by Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Yemi Cardoso, and the National Security Adviser, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, “to take matters into their hands to neutralise the overpowering influence of currency manipulators who had conspired to frustrate our reforms.

“Today, I stand proud to say that their interventions have translated into desired results, and Naira’s pushback against all odds is an inspiring journey that doesn’t have to be learned in Buenos Aires, as some would want us to do,” he added.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, chairman of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated and former Finance Minister, Dr Shamsudeen Usman, praised the content of the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Tinubu administration, describing it as one of the most detailed and carefully crafted policy document in the history of the country.

He stressed the need for the Renewed Hope Agenda document to be reviewed and integrated into the medium and long-term development framework of the country, noting that policy consistency with a long-term vision to transform critical sectors of the economy, is the way to go.
Usman also commended the administration’s establishment of a central coordination delivery unit to track the performance of programmes, policies and key interventions of the federal government, insisting that the monitoring of key performance indicators in the policy document was critical to the success of the government.

The CEO of the 2nd Chronicle Newspaper, Malam Mahmud Jega, had while welcoming guests to the event, said the need to critically analyse government policies and programmes was not just an expectation from the media but indeed borne out of the necessity to collectively contribute in shaping the nation’s development trajectory.

Shettima: Nigeria Was Literally Subsidising Fuel Consumption of the Entire West Africa

Vice-President Kashim Shettima, yesterday, said the decision to remove fuel subsidy was inevitable because the nation was literally subsidising the fuel consumption of the entire West African subregion.
Shetiima, who disclosed this while receiving a United Nations delegation, however, said Nigeria would work closely with the global body to address all of the country’s challenges as a people.

Addressing the UN delegation, he said removing fuel subsidy and unifying exchange rates were tough but necessary decisions to rescue Nigeria from an economic “cul de sac.”
Shettima said the Tinubu administration inherited a dire situation when it took over the government of former President Muhammadu Buhari last year.
“Fuel subsidy has been an albatross around the neck of successive governments in Nigeria. We had two options – either we got rid of subsidy or subsidy will get rid of the Nigerian nation.

“We have to be our brother’s keeper, but we were literally subsidising the fuel of the entire West African subregion,” he told the UN delegation, in what seemed like a fresh revelation.
He noted that President Tinubu’s decision to abolish the subsidy and unify exchange rates allowing the Naira to float freely “created a lot of challenges from the humanitarian end.”
The Vice President assured the UN delegation that Nigeria would close ranks with the global body, saying, “we will work closely together to address all of our challenges as a people.”

In his response, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Mohammed Fall, said the body would collaborate with the Tinubu government to ensure the success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.
He however, said it was of the conviction that the success or failure of Africa depended on the country.
According to the global body, the progress of Nigeria translated to the development of Africa because if Nigeria did not make it, there was no chance for any country on the continent to make it.

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Mohammed Fall, disclosed this when he led a delegation from the UN system in Nigeria on a courtesy visit to Vice President Kashim Shettima at the State House, Abuja, yesterday.
Proposing a humanitarian response plan for Nigeria, Fall said, “If Nigeria doesn’t make it, there is no chance for any country to make it. If Nigeria lifts it here, not only our sub-region but the entire continent and the world at large will be on track for the SDGs.
“If we succeed in Nigeria, today, the whole of the continent succeeds, but if we have challenges or difficulties to succeed in Nigeria, I am sure it is all of our continent that will be pulled down,” he maintained.

On the proposed humanitarian response plan for Nigeria, Fall said, “The plan is beyond helping those who are in need but to set the ground for a transition towards medium and long term development.
“We need to act now. It is the only way to sustain the successes recorded by the government and other partners to reduce vulnerability in society.”
Commending the measures so far taken by the Tinubu administration to reposition the economy, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria emphasised that Nigeria was critical to the progress of Africa and must be supported to succeed.

He pledged UN system’s support for the reforms undertaken by the Tinubu administration, just as he sought the partnership of the federal government to initiate a social safety programme that would mitigate the impact of the reforms on the most vulnerable in the society.
“Your decision is commended everywhere but we (at the UN) felt that before we get the results, there is a high risk that it impacts the most vulnerable segments of our community. And at the UN, we stand next to you to try to look for solutions on how we can mitigate those impacts on the most vulnerable people.
“This is what we want and that is our first initiative – how can we do and work together to step up our work on the social protection front?

“To make sure that a safety net is in place, bring coherence, bring consistency in a way that helps us address vulnerability that is still prevailing in the country.
“The humanitarian situation in the north has improved and this is thanks to your leadership. But as we speak there is still a humanitarian need. There is still a need to save lives;there is still vulnerability,” Fall emphasised.

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