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Recession: Swallow Your Pride, Accept Your Govt’s Limitations, Open Your Mind To Ideas, Atiku Tells Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Says Proposed 2021 Budget Presented To NASS No Longer Tenable

-As He Proffers Solutions
By Daniel Dafe
A former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 elections, Atiku Abubakar, has reacted to Nigeria’s recession status, urging the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to “swallow its pride, and accept its limitations, so that they can open their minds to ideas, without caring who the messenger is.”

In a tweet on Sunday titled: ‘We Must Exit This Recession With Precision,’ Atiku said: “It is with a very heavy heart that I received the confirmation that for the second time in five years, #Nigeria has entered into another #recession.”

Adding: “This could have been avoided had this administration taken heed to patriotic counsel given by myself and other well meaning Nigerians on cutting the cost of governance, saving for a rainy day, and avoiding profligate borrowing.”

He noted that “the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already bad situation, however, we could have avoided this fate by a disciplined and prudent management of our economy.”

He continued: “Nigeria needs critical leadership to guide her back to the path of economic sustainability.

“We cannot afford hand wringing and navel-gazing. We must act now, by taking necessary, and perhaps painful actions. For a start, the proposed 2021 budget presented to the National Assembly on Tuesday, October 8, 2020, is no longer tenable.

“Nigeria neither has the resources, or the need to implement such a luxury heavy budget. The nation is broke, but not broken. However, if we continue to spend lavishly, even when we do not earn commensurately, we would go from being a broke nation, to being a broken nation.

“As a matter of importance and urgency, every non essential line item in the proposed 2021 budget must be expunged.

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“Until our economic prospects improve, Nigeria ought to exclusively focus on making budgetary proposals for essential items, which include reasonable wages and salaries, infrastructural projects, and social services (citizenry’s health, and other human development investments).”

Continuing, he said “Additionally, we have to stimulate the economy, by investing in human development, and increasing the purchasing power of the most vulnerable of our population. Only a well developed populace can generate enough economic activity for the nation to exit this recession.”

This, he said could be done by “a stimulus package, in the form of monthly cash transfers of ₦5000 to be made to every bank account holder, verified by a Bank Verification Number, whose combined total deposit in the year 2019 was lower than the annual minimum wage.”

Atiku proposed a luxury tax on goods and services that are exclusively accessible only to the super-wealthy, saying that this will be a tax on the ultra wealthy to protect the extremely poor.

He added: “A practical approach to this is to place a 15% tax on all Business and First Class tickets sold to and from Nigeria, on all luxury car imports and sales, on all private jets imports and service charges, on all jewellery imports and sales, on all designer products imported, produced or sold in Nigeria, and on all other luxury goods either manufactured, or imported into Nigeria, with the exception of goods made for export.

“The proceeds of this tax should be exclusively dedicated to a Poverty Eradication Fund, which must be managed in the same manner as the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, or the Ecological Fund.

“I further propose that a 1% poverty alleviation tax should be legislated by the National Assembly on the profits of every International Oil Company operating in Nigeria, and international airlines doing business in Nigeria, which should also go towards the proposed Poverty Eradication Fund.”

His tweet adds that: “Nigeria must stop borrowing for anything other than essential needs. Again, for the avoidance of doubt, borrowing to pay salaries, or to engage in White Elephant projects, is not an essential need.”

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