Atiku unfolds N7trn economic blueprint for MSMEs if…

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Atiku Abubakar, has said that he would restart the economy by launching a N7 trillion ($10 billion) economic stimulus fund within his first 100 days if he is elected in 2023.

He said the fund would prioritise support to micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) across all the economic sectors within his first 100 days in office.

Atiku disclosed this yesterday in while speaking at the “Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Presidential Economic Agenda Forum for the PDP,” organised by the LCCI

He laid out his economic plan to salvage the country’s economic fortunes before members of Nigeria’s organised private sector.

Atiku also said he would rather privatise Nigeria’s dilapidated refineries rather than spend $1.55 billion on their revitalisation.

He added that he would stop all fiscal support to ailing public enterprises.

“Over the medium term, I will propose legislation for the removal of the entire electricity value chain from the exclusive list and give states the power to generate, transmit and distribute electricity for themselves,” he added.

The PDP presidential candidate also assured that he would listen to the private sector more, restore investors’ confidence in the Nigerian economy, break the jinx of infrastructure finance, declare a state of emergency in the power sector, undertake far-reaching fiscal restructuring that would improve liquidity in the economy and stimulate growth, create jobs, wage war against hunger as well as ensure that over the medium term, recurrent expenditure should not exceed 45 per cent of the budget.

“Today, I will speak on the strategic steps that I will take to build the economy of our dreams and foster bondless prosperity for all Nigerians. Poverty reduction shall be the centre piece of our economic development agenda and economic performance shall henceforth be measured by the number of jobs created and the number of people lifted out of poverty.

“Within the first 100 days of in office, I will create an Economic Stimulus Fund with an initial investment capacity of $10 billion to prioritise support to MSMEs across all the economic sectors, as they offer the greatest opportunities for achieving inclusive growth.

“I will undertake far-reaching fiscal restructuring to improve liquidity as well as the management of our fiscal resources in five bold steps.

“First, undertake an immediate review of government spending with a view to eliminating all leakages arising from subsidy payments. With its current precarious fiscal position and daunting development challenges, can Nigeria really afford to forego critical investments in education, health, security, etc. and channel scarce resources to subsidising the lifestyles of its elite?

“Second, stop all fiscal support to ailing state-owned enterprises. As with subsidy payments, by holding unto these underperforming enterprises, Nigeria is sacrificing investments in critical areas, including water, sanitation, and rural infrastructure. For example, the first phase in the rehabilitation of Nigeria’s refineries is expected to gulp $1.55 billion! I will sell of them.

“Third, take steps to improve spending efficiency by gradual reduction of government recurrent expenditures. Over the medium term, recurrent expenditures should not exceed 45 per cent of the budget.

‘Finally, focus on non-debt financing by promoting a private-sector led infrastructure development fund for the financing and delivery of key infrastructure projects,” he said.

On debt accumulation, Atiku said he would be more strategic and circumspect.

He expressed worry over the revelation by the minister of finance, budget and national planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed in July this year that the cost of servicing Nigeria’s debt has surpassed the federal government’s retained revenue by N310 billion in the first quarter of the year.

However, he pledged to take immediate steps to slow down the rate of debt accumulation by promoting more public private partnerships in critical infrastructure funding and identifying more innovative funding options.

He also said, he would review the current utilisation of all borrowed funds and ensure that they are deployed more judiciously.

“Our government will specifically ensure that all borrowed funds are for priority infrastructure projects that would generate income, boost output, and put the economy on the path of sustainable growth,” he said.

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