James Johnson
Mon, Jul 24, 2023 10:35 AM

Afenifere Urges President Tinubu to Seek Debt Relief and Tackle Economic Challenges

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Afenifere Urges President Tinubu to Seek Debt Relief and Tackle Economic Challenges
The pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, has advised President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to take immediate steps to seek debt relief, reduce the size of government, and address areas of public resource leakages. Nigeria, currently the fourth most indebted country globally, is facing a severe economic crisis. The organization suggests a simultaneous pursuit of several measures to alleviate the situation, including engagement of the unemployed, enhancement of security, and diplomatic efforts to obtain debt forgiveness.

Lagos - In a bid to mitigate Nigeria's economic crisis, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to seek debt relief from the country's major creditors. Nigeria, currently ranked as the fourth most indebted nation globally, faces an uphill battle to restore stability and sustainability to its economy. Alongside seeking debt relief, Afenifere advises Tinubu to reduce the size of government across all levels and identify and address areas leaking public resources.

According to Afenifere's National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, these measures are necessary for Nigeria to overcome its economic quagmire. The organization further suggests that Tinubu should implement policies or programs capable of engaging millions of unemployed individuals across the nation. Enhancing security measures and ensuring the safety of lives and properties must also become a permanent feature in Nigeria.

Nigeria currently grapples with a $13 billion debt burden, making it the fourth most indebted country globally, as reported by the United Nations' International Development Association (IDA). In addition, the country ranked fifth globally for the highest incidence of organized crimes, a significant factor related to unemployment, economic dislocation, and a dysfunctional welfare system, according to former Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai (rtd.).

Afenifere suggests that the five steps proposed should be implemented simultaneously to fully harness their inherent benefits. With Nigeria spending approximately 97% of its revenue on debt servicing, seeking debt relief has become crucial. Drastic reductions in the emoluments of public officials, especially political office holders, alongside combating corruption, are essential measures that must accompany the plea for debt forgiveness.

To prevent societal chaos resulting from a lack of social services and infrastructure, timely diplomatic shuttle efforts by President Tinubu are necessary to secure debt forgiveness from creditors. Afenifere acknowledges that accomplishing this feat will be challenging, given Nigeria's previous mismanagement of similar benefits received under former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

However, considering Nigeria's potential and Tinubu's opportunity to showcase a different approach, creditors may become receptive. These efforts must be strongly supported by drastic cost-cutting measures within the government and addressing financial leakages.

Afenifere's statement highlights the uncalled-for action of the National Assembly, which allocated 70 billion naira out of the 500 billion naira meant for palliatives. This decision demonstrates the insensitivity of elected officials to the plight of average Nigerians. Afenifere urges President Tinubu to intervene and reverse this decision.

In addition to these measures, Afenifere emphasizes the need to revive moribund industries across the country as a major priority. This approach would create employment opportunities, reduce crime rates, bolster the economy, strengthen the naira, and generate foreign exchange.

The organization further supports President Tinubu's decision to review the 8,000 naira palliative measures aimed at cushioning the effects of subsidy removal. To be truly effective, palliatives should enhance welfare and avoid unregulated cash dole-outs. Funds should instead be devoted to procuring passenger and luggage vehicles allocated to all local government areas and earmarking boats for riverine areas. These vehicles should be made available to transport unions at highly concessional rates, with fares significantly lower than prevailing rates.

Afenifere recommends that the government acquire food items directly from farmers and make them available at low prices in designated areas, as an effective welfare-enhancing measure. Additionally, a lasting solution to the high cost of petroleum products entails creating a conducive atmosphere for private importers and expediting refinery production.

Lastly, Afenifere urges President Tinubu to intervene and prevent electricity distribution companies from increasing tariffs for the time being. This measure aims to alleviate the burden on Nigerians.

In conclusion, Nigeria's economic challenges require immediate attention. Afenifere's suggestions and advice to President Tinubu offer a roadmap for overcoming these hurdles. By pursuing debt relief, reducing the size of government, addressing leakages in public resources, engaging the unemployed, enhancing security, and implementing measures to revive industries, Nigeria can navigate its way out of its current economic crisis.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-07-24 News

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