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Beneficiaries Of Subsidy Ready To Undermine Govt, Says VP Shettima

 

Vice President Kashim Shettima has said that those who lost out as a result of the removal of subsidy were determined to frustrate the government’s policies and programmes.

Shettima made this disclosure in Abuja on Tuesday, September 5, at the 16th Annual Banking and Finance Conference organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

He said the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration remains committed to its decisions, policies, and programmes and vowed that the removal of subsidy is irrevocable.

Addressing the audience, Shettima stated: “We know the consequences of unveiling a masquerade. We know the fuel scam industry is a very hugely loaded industry, they will make every effort to undermine us but as I said earlier the removal of fuel subsidy is irrevocable; truly we are in dire straits.”

On the outcomes of recent government policies and programmes especially the removal of subsidy, Shettima said: “I must announce with pride that our decisions are already yielding tangible results, with both state and federal governments now enjoying more substantial allocations.”

“These funds promise a direct and positive impact on the lives of our citizens. Without the serially unaccounted fuel subsidies, we can now redirect our savings towards more deserving causes”.

The vice president invited the banking community to join the government in rejuvenating the economy.

According to him, “We must now do what pessimists may regard as impossible: turning the economy around in record time. We seek your partnership in getting this done. We cannot take your support for granted.

“This journey towards economic rejuvenation is not one to be undertaken in isolation. It is a call to forge robust partnerships with strategic nations and multilateral organizations, for in unity, Nigeria can reposition itself as a formidable, globally competitive partner.”

Speaking further Shettima said: “We have promised to reposition consumer finance, and that can’t be done without you. We have promised to incentivise and finance value-addition to our agricultural and other products, and you are our ally in this. We need you because Nigeria teeters on the edge of a precarious balance of payments as we import more than we export.

“The future is already here, and this industry is a springboard for the success of our reforms and programmes. Whether in incorporating blockchain technology or expanding financial inclusion to deliver dividends of democracy to banking and unbanked citizens, Nigeria is here to occupy the high table in a fast-changing world”.

The government he said envisions “a future where no leader can resort to the tired excuse of ‘scarcity of funds’ to evade completion of projects or delayed salary payments. Nigeria is crafting a story where the welfare of our people takes precedence, and financial accountability reigns supreme.”

vice president said: “We have resolved to prioritise food security and ending poverty. We are prioritising economic growth and job creation. We are prioritising access to capital and improving security.

“We are prioritising improving the playing field on which people and particularly companies like yours operate. We are also prioritising the rule of law and the fight against corruption. Each agenda cannot be fully implemented without your cooperation.”

Earlier in his remarks, the president of the Chattered Institute of Bankers, Ken Opara said the event which has grown to become the largest gathering of banking and finance professionals in Africa, provides the platform for professionals to come together to drive the conversation on topical issues that are critical to the growth of the Nigerian economy.

He praised the reform initiatives of President Bola Tinubu, noting that “the reform initiatives such as subsidy removal, unifying the foreign exchange regime, investing in infrastructure, promoting agriculture, supporting SMEs and tax reforms, among others, if well implemented will unlock the economic potentials of the country.”

The chairman of the Body of Bank CEOs and Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Ebenezer Onyeagwu called for deliberate action from commercial banks and development banks in Nigeria to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and promote economic growth.

Onyeagwu argued that commercial banks should not be solely responsible for financing and supporting SMEs, as this would not lead to progress and development. He suggested that “development banks should also share the risk and support SMEs, as a collective effort is needed to grow these businesses”.

The minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu in his address said the government has resolved to make the annual budget plan-based and noted that the banking sector is well placed to contribute to national growth.

In his goodwill message, the acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi lamented that the banking industry is not contributing enough to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

He stated: “When we look at economic contribution, we are fighting below our weight so can we promise them that instead of 3.6 percent we will be contributing a lot more than that and we will sit down and find what the drivers are that we can influence and we can do.”

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