Apparently disturbed as to how the lingering fuel scarcity, the insecurity and the high level of unemployment in the country will affect the fortunes the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2019 general elections, the acclaimed National Leader of the party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to tackle the aforementioned crises before is too late.
Tinubu, who was represented at the 15th Daily Trust Dialogue held in Abuja on Thursday, January 18, by his former Finance Commissioner in Lagos state, Wale Edun, focused his speech on good governance rather partisan politics, but warned that 2019 elections “do not return to being games played by a well-heeled elite while the rest of the nation is left to struggle and starve.”
The former Lagos state governor acknowledged that despite some of the achievements recorded by the present administration, the issue if subsidy regime, Fulani/farmers frequent clashes, unemployment and pension arrears must be tackled.
According to him, “As a progressive, I believe we must transform the nation by embarking on deep and impactful reforms, by creating more jobs, providing social policy initiatives and building an infrastructure befitting a leading nation. Social services must become a reality close at hand and not a vague dream lying in the distance.
“For example, we must reform the current fuel subsidy regime. At this stage it causes more problems than it cures. Bottlenecks of long fuel queues, erratic supply, resultant economic dislocations for consumers from lack of fuel and the corrupt practices of trade insiders undermine the good intentions upon which the subsidy is based.
“Currently, the subsidy does not benefit the average person. It sweetly profits the elites who manipulate the programme to their own advantage. We need to allow market forces to more directly determine price. We need to open the now closed market to more suppliers. In this way, we may better harmonise supply and demand, where they do the most sustainable economic good.
“In addition, we must repair our social safety net. Old people who have given so much to the nation are being shortchanged and forced to live in penury when they should be living in the dignity due their advanced years and their former labors.
In his opening remarks, Chairman of the Daily Trust Media Limited Kabiru Yusuf, said 2018 will make it 20 years if existence of the Newspaper, adding that the paper decided to start the yearly dialogue because “politics is too important to be left for politicians alone.”
Innocent Odoh, Abuja