100 Days of President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda
By Temitope Mustapha
It is 100 days since President Bola Tinubu was inaugurated as Nigeria’s President. He was sworn in as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on May 29th, 2023, making him the fifth president since the country returned to democratic rule in 1999.
In his inaugural speech, President Tinubu echoed his mission under the Renewed Hope Agenda. Restating his commitment to the agenda, the president said his administration would improve the people’s lives; strengthen bonds of economic collaboration; foster social cohesion and cultural understanding as well as develop a sense of fairness and equity.
To achieve these goals, the administration set out for higher growth in the Gross Domestic Product, and to significantly reduce unemployment. Part of what the Tinubu administration has begun to do is the formulation and deployment of industrial policies towards fiscal measures to promote manufacturing and reduce import dependency. The new government also resolved to focus on redirecting Nigeria’s economy and eliminating barriers that impede productivity and growth.
As a pointer to his policy direction, President Tinubu ended the era of petrol subsidy in Nigeria. The announcement of the policy generated widespread disaffection due to the burden of an increase in transportation costs and a rise in food prices.
The removal of subsidies is a demonstration of political will and a desire to tackle Nigeria’s challenges. The President’s action marked the beginning of the implementation of a policy that would enable Nigeria to save resources, which in 2022, amounted to about N3 trillion. This huge amount, the administration has saved would be deployed towards the execution of the critical infrastructure in the country, provision of healthcare and education, and ensuring a sustainable environment. With the government declaring that it saved over N1 trillion from the withdrawal of oil subsidies between June and July 2023, it is evident that the policy is yielding the desired results.
The policy has also reduced, if not eliminated, the smuggling of petrol from Nigeria to neighboring countries. According to a report by Chapel Hill Denham, the estimated quantity of fuel smuggled from Nigeria to neighbouring countries daily was about 15.64 million litres. The report also showed that the price of petrol was 3.7 times cheaper in Nigeria than in these other countries, making the smuggling of petrol from Nigeria to those countries attractive to unscrupulous business people in Nigeria and those countries. The removal of subsidy on petrol in Nigeria has curbed this.
The other policy of the Tinubu administration targeted at strengthening the economy is the floating of the naira, allowing market forces to determine the rate of the Nigerian currency. Hitherto, it was the Central Bank of Nigeria that determined the exchange rate. The new policy is aimed at attracting more investments and increasing economic activities in the country.
Expectedly, these policies, like the pains of childbirth, have brought some challenges with rising cost of living, increased transportation costs, and inflation. The Tinubu administration is not unmindful that Nigerians are groaning under the yoke of these policies.
The administration has responded with measures to cushion the unintended effects of the new policies. It approved the disbursement of N5 billion to each of the country’s 36 states for the provision of palliatives for the people.
To mitigate the challenges in the transportation sector, President Tinubu approved the establishment of the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas Initiative PCNGI. The initiative is to ease the impact of fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians by reducing energy costs. Other components of this initiative include local assembly plants for CNG vehicles, a workshop empowerment program, job creation, reassurance of mass transit systems, and student hubs amongst others.
In acceptance of this initiative, Nigerians are now switching in droves to the use of gas. Many households now use gas to power their electricity generators while others convert their cars to the use of gas instead of petrol.
Aside from palliatives, owners of small and medium-sized enterprises have also been considered in the first100 days of this administration when on 6th July, President Tinubu signed executive orders reversing tax increases on manufacturers and suspending excise tax imposed on single-use plastics.
The intervention of the present administration in tax reforms is also notable specifically as the President approved the setting up of a Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee, comprising eminent Nigerians who would not only serve in an advisory capacity but also support the implementation of the reforms.
The inactivation of the fiscal policy would have affected mostly the SMEs and possibly activated additional inflation.
The appointment of nine women as Ministers in President Tinubu’s administration, representing 25 percent of the Federal Executive Council, and the inclusion of youths in his government, are now considered as deliberate steps towards creating visibility for the youths and women in the business of governance.
President Tinubu has also made deliberate efforts to attract foreign investment into Nigeria. As part of strategies outlined to mobilize international deals to improve infrastructure, and grow the economy in agriculture, solid minerals, steel, and the power sector, the President is working to ensure a business environment that would give investors confidence in the country and move Nigeria out of being a mono-economy.
President Tinubu’s steps in the last 100 days represent the administration’s resolve to pursue economic prosperity for the country through his eight-point agenda of food security, poverty eradication, economic growth, job creation, access to capital, improving security of life and property, rule of law and fight against corruption.
It is therefore expected that the G20 Summit, which President Tinubu is attending in New Delhi, India, and the upcoming UN General Assembly in New York, scheduled to start on September 19th, 2023 will further galvanize international support for the courageous reforms embarked upon by the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.