Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate, promises that his administration will handle the country’s security concerns by making unpopular decisions, if elected in the upcoming general elections,
With roughly six months until the election, the PDP candidate pledged to prioritise restoring the “crawling” economy, mainly through private sector participation.
He said this on Tuesday in Lagos at the Private Sector Economic Forum hosted by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).“We will take tough and difficult decisions on security matters without fear or favour,” said Atiku, who was vice president between 1999 and 2007. “
Investment is a cowardly animal that shies away from tension and uncertainty. I’ll end the funding curse for infrastructure.
He lamented the severity of poverty and the alarming unemployment rate, which he claimed were two of the leading causes of the country’s insecurity.
“The Nigerian economy is crawling rather than growing. Per capita income, a measure of citizens’ well-being, has progressively fallen since 2015 because of declining output and a fast-growing population. Nigerians are worse off today than they were in 2015,” he said.
“The oil and gas sector, the economy’s lifeline, has suffered a decline in 19 out of 30 quarters since 2014. For many economic sectors and ordinary citizens, it still feels like a recession.
“Under the present administration, our people are not working. More than 23 million people are out of jobs. In just five years between 2015 and 2020, the number of fully employed people dropped by 54%, from 68 million to 31 million people.”
According to Atiku, there are more unemployed individuals than people living in Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abia, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Kwara, and Nasarawa states put together.
The majority of the unemployed, he said, were young people without families, jobs, or prospects for the future.
According to Atiku, the Federal Government spent more on debt servicing than it took in for the first time in the history of Nigeria.
He said that by allocating more than 100% of its revenue to debt payment, Nigeria had already exceeded one of the applicable debt-sustainability limits.
The former vice president bemoaned that although policy incoherence and flip-flops, coupled with domestic unrest, have continued to represent a serious risk to investment and production growth, capital has fled.
According to him, less wealthy countries have displaced Nigeria from its prestigious position as Africa’s top investment destination, and every Nigerian can see the failure of the current administration as the nation’s economic, social, political, and security challenges continue to take on ominous proportions.
“More Nigerians are poorer and more miserable today than in 2015,” Atiku lamented. “Basic commodities are now beyond the reach of the average Nigerian. A loaf of bread costs 100% more today than it did in 2020.
“Farmers now pay more than 200% more for a bag of fertiliser -if they see it-than they did in 2020. The APC-led government is dressing Nigeria in borrowed robes! Nigeria is broke. Nigeria, under the APC-led government, has consistently run-on budget deficits since it came to power in 2015. These budget deficits are often above the three per cent threshold permissible under the Fiscal Responsibility Law.”