The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has said he will ask for debt forgiveness or cancellation to relieve Nigeria’s foreign debts.
The former vice president, while speaking on his economic recovery plan at the Lagos Business School 2022 Alumni Day, also said his privatisation plan was not to render Nigerians jobless.
Speaking on a plethora of economic issues Nigeria is currently battling with, Atiku gave a brief background on the economic gains of the PDP between 1999 and 2007, including debt cancellation, privatisation, banking reforms, as well as the effective working partnership with the private sector.
He engaged the audience on economic issues, fuel subsidy, foreign exchange policy, debt crisis, and power, as well as issues bordering on the oil and gas sector at the event which had business executives in attendance.
He also used the platform to pay tribute to the private sector for the successes recorded by the PDP from 1999- 2007.
On the rising cost of governance, the former VP said he would revisit the Orosanye report and ensure the white paper report was in conformity with the principle of setting up the committee.
Speaking on fuel subsidy, Atiku noted how the PDP government had phased out subsidy in batches, saying, “I was the chairman for the removal of fuel subsidy committee and I recall how we removed the phase 1 and phase 2 of fuel subsidy. I will continue from were we stopped, remove fuel subsidy totally and channel the subsidy funds back to the economy. In other words, it’s just a fraud.”
He described Nigeria’s debt situation as a mess, saying he would fix it if he was elected president.
He said, “If you are talking about foreign debt, we have done it before, I will engage our creditors and ask for debt forgiveness or cancellation like we did before. Coming to local debt, if we stabilise the economy, we will borrow less, propose a flexible payment plan.
“Again, I want you to compare our records with the current government and you can see who did well economically.”
The ex-vice president stated that he would reform the oil and gas sector by ensuring that the right investors were engaged such that Nigeria’s crude production would increase, while ensuring the privatisation of the three refineries in the country.
According to him, such policies would ultimately make Nigeria an oil production hub.
He equally vowed to ensure proper funding for public education, noting that education should be enjoyed by children of the poor for free.
He also promised to reposition the Universal Basic Education, which was set up in 1999, to its main purpose which was to reduce out-of-school children in the country.
When asked to comment on the autonomy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the PDP standard bearer said the current managers of the apex bank were taking a cue from the current administration ”which”, according to him, “lacks direction.”
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