President to increase minimum wage
Approves Infrastructure Support Fund for states
President Bola Tinubu on Monday assured that his government will do everything in its power to create a better future for Nigerians with his policies.
President Tinubu during a live broadcast addressing the state of the nation, noted that Nigeria can never become the society it intends to be if it continued with the previous subsidy planning stating that it was a means for a few power brokers to enrich themselves at the detriment of the state.
He empathised with Nigerians on the effect of the subsidy removal, recognising the hardship they face on a daily basis due to the policy but maintained that there was no other way to make the country work.
While speaking on the administration’s effort to reduce the burden of economy hardship on Nigerians, most especially on businesses, the working class and the most vulnerable, Tinubu disclosed that he is working closely with states and local governments to implement interventions.
He recalled that he signed four Executive Order earlier this month to address unfriendly fiscal policies and multiple taxes that are stifling the business environment.
Rolling out his plans to cushion the pains of Nigerians across socio-economic brackets, he said, “To strengthen the manufacturing sector, increase its capacity to expand and create good paying jobs, we are going to spend N75 billion between July 2023 and March 2024.
“Our objective is to fund 75 enterprises with great potential to kick-start a sustainable economic growth, accelerate structural transformation and improve productivity. Each of the 75 manufacturing enterprises will be able to access N1 Billion credit at nine percent per annum with maximum of 60 months repayment for long term loans and 12 months for working capital.”
Furthermore, the President revealed that his administration will energise micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and the informal sector, which he described as “drivers of growth” with N125 billion.
On how the money would be spent, Tinubu said, “Out of the sum, we will spend N50 billion on Conditional Grant to 1 million nano businesses between now and March 2024. Our target is to give N50,000 each to 1,300 nano business owners in each of the 774 local governments across the country.
“Ultimately, this programme will further drive financial inclusion by onboarding beneficiaries into the formal banking system. In like manner, we will fund 100,000 MSMEs and start-ups with N75 billion. Under this scheme, each enterprise promoter will be able to get between N500,000 to N1million at nine percent interest per annum and a repayment period of 36 months.”
He added that his administration has had a multi-stakeholder engagement with various farmers’ associations and operators in a bid to reduce the prices of food items in the country.
As part of efforts to see to the availability and affordability of staple food, President Tinubu said he has ordered the release of 200,000 Metric Tonnes of grains from strategic reserves to households across the 36 states and FCT.
Tinubu pledged to “support cultivation of 500,000 hectares of farmland and all-year-round farming practice remains on course.”
The President stressed that out of the N500 billion approved by the National Assembly, N50 billion each would be disbursed for the cultivation of 150,000 hectares of rice and maize, while another N50 billion each would be earmarked to cultivate 100,000 hectares of wheat and cassava.
While noting that the FG will tap into the expertise of Development Finance Institutions, commercial banks and microfinance banks, he said the programme will target small-holder farmers and leveraging large-scale private sector players in the Agric business with strong performance record.
Additionally, he disclosed that he approved the Infrastructure Support Fund for states.
His words, “This new Infrastructure Fund will enable States to intervene and invest in critical areas and bring relief to many of the pain points as well as revamp our decaying healthcare and educational Infrastructure.
“The fund will also bring improvements to rural access roads to ease evacuation of farm produce to markets. With the fund, our states will become more competitive and on a stronger financial footing to deliver economic prosperity to Nigerians.
“Part of our programme is to roll out buses across the states and local governments for mass transit at a much more affordable rate. We have made provision to invest N100 billion between now and March 2024 to acquire 3000 units of 20-seater CNG-fuelled buses.”
The president stated that his administration will also work with the Labour unions to introduce a new national minimum wage for workers adding that, “I want to tell our workers this: your salary review is coming.
“Once we agree on the new minimum wage and general upward review, we will make budget provision for it for immediate implementation.”