I removed petrol subsidy to save Nigeria from bankruptcy — Tinubu

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On Sunday, President Bola Tinubu admitted that the decision to terminate the petroleum subsidy was challenging but crucial to prevent Nigeria’s economic collapse.

He made this statement during the inaugural session of the Special World Economic Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital.

He acknowledged that most Nigerians would bear the brunt of this action, but assured that the government had implemented strategies to mitigate the impact.

Answering a question, he stated, “As a nation, Nigeria understands the difficulty of this decision. We firmly believe that economic cooperation and inclusivity are vital for global stability. The subsidy removal was an unavoidable step to prevent our country from going bankrupt and to realign our economy towards growth.

“Leadership often involves making tough decisions, and this was one of those times. It was a necessary step for our nation. Yes, there were setbacks. Yes, a large number of people were expected to face hardships. But the government’s focus was on the people’s interest. It’s easier to manage and explain the difficulties. Simultaneously, we had a plan in place to soften the impact of the subsidy removal on the country’s vulnerable population.

“We spread the pain evenly. We couldn’t exclude the most vulnerable.”

President Tinubu expressed his pleasure that Nigeria is home to a dynamic youth population eager to shape their future through education and technology. He emphasized that the government had shown transparency in managing the country’s affairs and remained committed to its course.

Tinubu added, “Fortunately, we have a dynamic youth population eager to learn, ready for technology, well-educated, and committed to progress. We managed to distribute the economic impact and the fallout of the subsidy removal fairly, promoting transparency, accountability, and fiscal discipline in the country.

“For me, this is more important than deciding which direction we should take. I will pursue this vigorously. Managing our currency was also necessary to eliminate its artificial value. As a result, our local currency can compete with global currencies and eliminate corruption and opacity in arbitrage. We achieved this.

“Simultaneously, this created a dual problem in a very turbulent situation for the government. But we managed this turbulence because we prepared for inclusive governance and quick communication with the public to understand what is necessary and what needs to be done.”

The president noted that forums like this are excellent for sharing experiences but urged that discussions should be followed by actions.

Continuing, President Tinubu observed: “This forum is also valuable for us to share experiences and hopes for the future. What is missing, and I am glad the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia) emphasizes the words ‘collaboration’ and ‘inclusiveness.’ The capital formation necessary to drive the economy, like agriculture, food security, innovation, and technological advancement, must be an inclusive program for the entire world. No one should be left behind.

“The fear of capital scarcity in Africa is stigmatized. And I am glad the world is recognizing the need to marry the type of population growth that Africa experienced and the diversity of its resources with economic opportunity. We must collaborate to do that. And that is what we are doing so far. 

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