Monday , 17 June 2024

One year anniversary : Tinubu is doing well on long-term Economy strategies for prosperity and He Should Engage People Who Worked for His Election’s Victory also, Says Dr. HASSAN SADDIQ

Dr. Hassan Saddiq, a security strategy expert with a Ph.D. in Security Strategy. His also the spokesperson for the City Boys Movement campaign organization and a member of NOC Marketing and Sponsorship Commission Nigeria Olympic Committee.

Can we meet you and what’s your role in the 2023 election?

Well, my name is Dr. Hassan Saddiq, a security strategy expert with a Ph.D. in Security Strategy. Also the spokesperson for the City Boys Movement campaign organization.

How can you compare President Tinubu’s one-year administration to the previous one?

Thank you. Before the election, I met with Asiwaju Tinubu somewhere and advised him to reach out to then-President Buhari about why VAT should not be increased because it would promote poverty. Most essential commodities like flour and wheat should not be taxed. An increase in these taxes makes the prices of commodities inaccessible to common Nigerians. For example, bread is now too expensive. I advised him that widening the VAT net would bring in more taxable items that would offset the taxes on essential commodities for poor Nigerians.

Looking at President Tinubu’s government, it faces two major challenges: economic and security. We have short, medium, and long-term economic strategies to tackle them. Tinubu, as of today, has been able to address long-term solutions head-on by removing the fuel subsidy. However, he has not been able to attend to short and medium-term issues, which is why people are yet to see results on the short-term agenda. The cost of living is still high.

When you see citizens eating from the dustbin and petty cases at the police stations, and crime rates increasing, you know your poverty index has increased. One year into his administration, the area we have done well is long-term strategies, like removing the fuel subsidy to allow the government to access more funds for other projects. The monthly FAAC allocations have increased to states. Delta State, for instance, received allocations as high as 38 billion Naira monthly. When these states start investing in both human and capital projects, the trajectory of good results will begin to show. Coastal road projects that are currently being embarked upon will later yield economic benefits, similar to what America did in 1817, which today yields huge commercial benefits. It was condemned when first introduced.

Internal revenue policies should be enhanced to tax the rich while benefiting the poor. Cybersecurity taxation should be applied to transactions of 20 million Naira and above, as trades at that level indicate wealth. Mr. President should ensure people benefit from the transactions of the rich, thereby aligning citizens with his policies. Agriculture as a long-term economic strategy should include establishing food reserves to keep people alive. The President should know how many silos are needed for grain storage, engage farmers in business to buy grains for storage, and subsidize them for replanting and consumption.

America ensures food security by supporting farmers, which keeps them farming and ensures food availability. President Tinubu should prioritize food security to maintain societal stability. I suggest the government focus on short-term strategies to address hunger immediately.

Regarding electricity, as of today, the number of subscribers is 12 million, but only 4 million are metered. We have the capacity but lack gas. Industries and private partnerships should be encouraged, and Band A customers should receive subsidies to support their operations. Immediate attention should be given as incentives. If we have a 10,000 MW generation capacity with adequate gas supply, there would be competition, leading to cheaper electricity.

President Tinubu’s administration needs to address the exchange rate. Countries that devalue their currency rarely succeed statistically. IMF and World Bank policies that influence such devaluation prevent industrialization. Converting local currency into dollars for importing machinery becomes costlier in nations with devalued currencies, hindering industrialization. For instance, the Dangote refinery, initially costing 15 billion dollars, would be much more expensive now due to the current exchange rate. The government should float the dollar lower. Around 50-70% of dollar issuance by the CBN is for political purposes rather than business.

What’s your opinion about Mr. President’s performance in one year?

I will speak about the power sector. I have met with and shared my views with President Tinubu. I see him as eager to fix this country. As an expert, my view is different from the general public. I rate him highly in terms of long-term strategy. However, most Nigerians want immediate social benefits, which long-term strategies do not address. Mr. President has focused on long-term strategies in his first year. In his second year, he should prioritize short and medium-term solutions to show clear progress and silence his opponents.

Regarding security, the service chiefs have performed well. Recent swift responses to kidnappings show that security operations are now proactive. The President has allocated substantial funds for military operations. However, I foresee danger in the area of the National Security Advisor’s office trying to establish a special force, which could lead to conflicts of interest. His office was established for advisory purposes, not for creating special forces, which could lead to sabotage.

Support groups who campaigned for President Tinubu feel used and dumped. I drafted a National Security Policy with four special policies: Economy, Unity, Security, and National Interest, which could drive national progress. However, there has been no engagement. During Babangida’s era, Nigeria spent over 10 billion Naira on crises in neighboring countries. Nigerian companies should be number one in construction, but South African companies like DStv and MTN repatriate a significant portion of their earnings abroad. Our country cannot sanction them due to the fact that our citizens work for them.

The military should enhance both defensive and offensive operations. For example, Iran’s offensive capability allows them to launch attacks, while Israel’s defensive capacity prevents those attacks from reaching their targets.

Regarding the inclusiveness of Mr. President’s administration, I am one of those who feel forgotten. I have advocated for knowledgeable governance. My City Boys Movement worked for his emergence, but no appointment where I can add value has been given to me. I feel used and dumped. My economic blueprint took me three years to develop, and I believe I could contribute significantly. There are places today where I cannot wear my campaign cap without fear of being attacked because there is nothing to show for it.

I advise Mr. President to revisit support groups that worked during his campaign for appointments. I have often told Seyi, the President’s son, that I am interested in governance. People should be invited for presentations and appraised for appointments. I have four strategic policies to work with if called upon. I used to call Mr. President’s manifestos “Eldorado to Joy,” but today we are not even at Eldorado, let alone Joy. The government should bring people who worked for him on board.
The EFCC has performed well in fighting corruption. We have seen ministers suspended and governors invited for questioning, which never happened before. If this momentum continues, corruption will be significantly reduced.

My last wish for Mr. President is success. I will continue to pray for him. It is not an easy task to govern a nation like Nigeria. He needs wisdom and sound health to lead. He should address untouched areas and look for capable people who can contribute to his government’s prosperity.

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