Tinubu Woos Afrexim, EU Bank Executives And Other Foreign Investors In France

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

In spite of the N80 billion debt burden left behind by former President Muhammadu Buhari for the Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Administration to service before retiring to Daura, his home town in Katsina state, the Lagos state born Nigerian President had said that there was no cause for alarm for foreign investors to return back to the country to restart their business.

Although, the Debt Management Office , DMO,  under the close watch of Ms. Patience Oniha,    had said   that the 73.5% of the 2023 revenue projection  that will be used to service the country’s debt , by the Tinubu’s Administration , the DMO , is unsustainable  and thus, poses a threat  to the country’s debt sustainability.

In opposing additional borrowing by the Administration, the DMO, was to have recommended to the Administration’’ to focus on increasing the country’s revenue generation to achieve a sustainable debt –service to –revenue generation ration ratio. This may have informed why it has suggested raising the government 2023, revenue projection made by the former Katsina state born Nigerian President from N10.49 trillion to N15.5 trillion.  Officials of the DMO, had said that they have arrived at the new revenue projection after analyzing the nation’s debt profile in 2022.

The Nigerian President  may have zeroed  his hind that he is not going to rule the country on borrowed funds  but to open up the economy for foreign investors to come in  as he has surrounded himself with the likes of Wale Edun, a Financial expert who had served as the Commissioner for  Finance, during his eight years Administration as the first  governor of Lagos state between 1999 and 2007, as he squared up with the then President Olusegun ObAsanjo who refused to release the state allocation from the Federal purse  ostensibly  to stagnate him from executing developmental projects in the state but failed.

 He may have known that he cannot afford to fail at the Federal level  as he has picked the former  Lagos stateCommissioner of Finance as special Adviser on Monetary Policies,  Zachaeous Adedeji  , Revenue and  Olu Verheijen was appointed as Special Adviser on Energy and  Nuhu Ribadu, a former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as  Special Adviser on Security,  andwho has repeatedly accused  Buhari and Nasir El-rufai, former govegovernor of Kaduna state of sponsoring  the Bandits Group, operating  in the north western  states of Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, the former President home state and the north central state of Niger.

Indeed, the Nigerian President may have prepared the ground for investors to come into the country and do their business without fear of getting their proceeds trapped at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, as the new Administration has bowed to pressure from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, IMF, to scrap the fuel subsidy, which has been a drain –pipe to the economy over the years and unified the country’s multiple foreign exchange rates.

 The Nigerian President, who is already at France, for the New  Global Financing Pact Summit, organised by Emmanuel Macron, the country’s President  has told those that cares  that ‘’Nigeria is ready  for business’’, urging investors, both within and outside the European Union,  EU, ‘’to take advantage  of the opportunities  and ongoing  economic reforms in the West Arican country  including  the removal of fuel subsidy  and the unification of exchange rates that will be sustained  for a more  competitive economy  that attracts Foreign Direct Investment, FDI to come in with their plants and machineries to start thir business.

The former Lagos state governor who was said to have received  Benedict Oramah, a Professor and Chairman,  African Export-Import Bank , Afrexim,  and Odile Renaud Basso, President of European Bank  for Reconstruction and Development , at separate meetings , was said to have assured them that  ‘’the Nigerian government  will continue  to stimulate the economy  with policies  that support  investments  in areas of Nigeria’s competitive advantage, particular, agriculture and energy.

The Nigerian President was said to have made the two Bank Executives to understand that ‘’it would take boldness and courage to reposition the country’s economy which has been battered by past Administration calling for collaboration to solidify the country’s economy’’.

 He was emphatic.’’ Nigeria is ready for global business’’, noting that the present Administration’s economic reforms are ‘’total’’. He was said to have listed areas of government intervention to buoy the economy like infrastructure and health which should encourage foreign investors to flood Nigeria, stressing that ‘’the country has the large market for its produced products. He did not stop there. He had also said that ‘’ Nigeria is blessed with adequate human and material resources’’.

 Prof. Oramah, the President of Afrexim Bank, who was said to have listened patiently to the Nigerian President may have taken a cue from David MMalpas, immediate past President of the World Bank to give kudos  to the Tinubu  for the steps  taken in removing  the age-long fuel subsidy that had entrenched the  hydra-headed corruption in the country over the years  and the unification of  the multiple  exchange rates system. He was said to have assured the Nigerian Leader of ‘’the full support of the bank on the ongoing reforms in the country to buoy the economy’’.  

While Tnubu, and his economic team appear  set  to grow the economy in the next four years, before representing himself for a second term in office on the platform of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, , in 2027, there have been rumours making the rounds that he has approved  a  114% salary review for selected politicians  and judicial officers.

Dele Alake, the President’s Special Adviser on    Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, has described the rumours as the handwork of mischief makers who had  come out with the fake news ‘’ to create ill-will for the new Administration , slow down the momentum  and the massive  goodwill the  over three week –old Administration cureently enjoys from the public  as a result  of its fast paced, dynamic  and aggressive policies which have begun to yield result’’.

   The Presidential Aide  had said that the President  do not have the powers to increase the salary of government appointees , let alone  recommend to the National Assembly to approve such increase  in the salary of the , stating that  only  the Revenue  Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC,  can approve salary increase for the President , Vice President, elected Federal and State Assembly Legislators and political appointees at the Federal and state level , including Judicial officers.   

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