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Tinubu blames opposition for food crisis, uncovers 32 smuggling routes

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Who will tell the President? Akande enlightens Tinubu on national issues requiring urgent attention

The President Bola Tinubu-led federal government has blamed the opposition for Nigeria’s present food crisis.

This comes as the administration revealed it has discovered 32 new smuggling routes used to get food out of the nation.

The federal government, however, identified the current economic issues as the work of “forces that are hell-bent on plunging this country into a state of anarchy.”

It accused individuals who failed to win power in the previous election of continuing in “political mode” and now working against the country’s interests.

Speaking on Tuesday in Abuja during the inaugural Public Wealth Management Conference hosted by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated, President Bola Tinubu, represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, remarked, “Forces are hell bent on plunging this country into a state of anarchy.

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“Those who could not get into power through the ballot box instead of waiting till 2027 are so desperate.

“If this country can fall apart, as far as they’re concerned, so be it. We are going to resist them.”

Since taking office nine months ago, the Tinubu administration has claimed to have eliminated long-standing fuel subsidy in order to free up funds for infrastructure development.

However, the International Monetary Fund said that the government had surreptitiously resumed subsidies to prevent an unmanageable rise in the cost of living.

He also unified foreign exchange rates, which has caused collateral instability in the value of the naira and increased suffering for Nigerians as food prices continue to rise.

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However, the President emphasised that the country was on the mend, dismissing assertions made by governors elected under the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who compared Nigeria’s predicament to Venezuela.

“We are on the path to redemption. Wherever Nigeria goes, it is worth repeating: that’s where Africa goes. We have to make this country work. We have to move beyond politics. We are now in the governance phase.

“Sadly, some of our countrymen are still in political mode. They are the practitioners of violence, advocating that they are Nigerian and that our own country, our one and only Nigeria, should go to Venezuela.

“Some are agitating that we should go the Lebanon way. But Nigeria is greater than any one of us here. Nigeria will weather the storm,” Tinubu said.

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Tinubu cited the recent interception of 45 trucks of maize bound for a neighbouring country, urging Nigerians to unite against forces bent on undermining the nation.

Tinubu said, “Just three nights ago, 45 trucks of maize were caught being transported to a neighbouring country. In that Ilella axis, there are 32 illegal smuggling routes, and the moment those goods were intercepted, the price of maize fell by N10,000.

“It came down from N60,000 to N50,000 as the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security is here.

“So there are forces that are hell-bent on undermining our nation. But this is a time for us to coalesce into a single force and rally around our president, our government, and each other. We have the resources. We have the intellect. We have the capacity to turn the corner.”

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At the Championing Nigeria’s Economic Prosperity conference, Tinubu hinted at intentions to create millions of jobs by unlocking the value of Nigeria’s huge public assets in order to optimise and double the country’s GDP.

According to him, with economic revitalization as a key priority, the Federal Government aims to raise at least $10 billion in foreign exchange liquidity, which will help stabilise the naira.

“After coming on board, our revenue for sharing in FAAC was N1.9tn. In order not to overheat the politics and economy, we had warehouse N1tn and shared N900bn. We are not altogether in a very bad shape.

“Yes. There is an FX challenge in which all hands are on deck to see that we weather the storm. As I said, we know the consequences of unveiling the masquerade,” he added.

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Tinubu emphasised the low-hanging fruit of discovering, consolidating, and optimising returns on government-owned assets totaling trillions of naira.

He explained, “The Federal Government set a goal to raise at least $10 billion in order to increase foreign exchange liquidity, a key ingredient to stabilise the naira and grow the economy.

“At the core of this is ensuring optimal management of the assets and investments of the Federal Government towards unlocking their revenue potential.

“This includes our bold and achievable plan to double the GDP growth rate and significantly increase the GDP base over the next eight years.”

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However, he highlighted that decades of mismanagement and underutilization have plagued the country’s assets, which are dispersed across Nigeria and beyond its boundaries, resulting in income losses that have slowed economic progress.

He reassured Nigerians that the newly reformed Ministry of Finance, which will serve as the custodian and active manager of these assets, would now take the stage.

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