The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday punctured the claim by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government that oil price hovered at $100 per barrel in the 16 years of PDP’s rule, saying it was only sold for that price in two years of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
Besides, he said his former boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo inherited a crude oil price of $11 per barrel yet took Nigeria out of recession, cleared the country’s foreign debts and grew the economy by six percent.
He stated this while delivering the quarterly business lecture of Lagos Island Club where he spoke on “My vision to get Nigeria working again”, saying the current structure of the country is not working.
He said for Nigeria to develop into a united, prosperous and secure nation, it must adopt a new economic management model and a new political structure “that will cure all the federating units of their addiction to oil revenues”.
Atiku said the present administration came into power and took Nigeria to recession while drawing back the economic gains of the previous administrations under the PDP.
He said though the country is blessed with the human resources to make quantum leap from a third world nation to a developed country, the last four years had witnessed deterioration in all aspects of human development.
According to him, “unemployment has unfortunately been our only booming industry with over 13 million people joining the ranks of people without a job, which now totals 21 million.”
He said the actions and inactions of government had weakened investors’ confidence in Nigerian economy, noting that Ghana with a population of 13 million people attracted more Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).
“In order to reverse the trend, our economic policy would be more coherent, consistent and therefore more predictable by the business community. Nothing could be more threatening to investment flows than an environment that is full of policy flip-flops”, he said.
He reiterated that if elected, he would run a private sector-driven government towards enhancing the capacity of private businesses to create jobs.
According to him, unlike during Obasanjo’s presidency when there used to be regular meetings with Chief Executive Officers of major companies, nothing of such is presently happening.
He lamented that there is no council of privatization in place, saying it stopped during Jonathan’s administration.
“The AtikuPlan recognizes the private sector as the engine of growth of our economy. A strong, productive and pro-growth private sector is needed to create wealth, generate employment opportunities and help fight poverty.
“We pledge to improve government consultations with the private sector in policy design and policy implementation. We will work with the Organized Private Sector to identify ways to reduce the cost of borrowing, tackle incidences of multiple taxations and improve availability of foreign exchange for legitimate production input purchases”.