Buhari, Tinubu say Fixing Infrastructure Will Define Next Level

Buhari, Tinubu say Fixing Infrastructure Will Define Next Level

President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Mr Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, say infrastructure development is a critical component of the Next Level of the administration. Speaking at the 11th Bola Tinubu Colloquium held in commemoration of Tinubu’s 67th birthday on Thursday in Abuja with the theme, `Next Level: Work

President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Mr Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, say infrastructure development is a critical component of the Next Level of the administration.

Speaking at the 11th Bola Tinubu Colloquium held in commemoration of Tinubu’s 67th birthday on Thursday in Abuja with the theme, `Next Level: Work for People,’ Buhari who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said that fixing infrastructure was crucial to achieving socio-economic development; hence the Next Level focused on Agriculture.

“For us, infrastructure is critical at the Next Level; we cannot have transformative development with the type of power we have today; that is why we are focused on power and other infrastructure.”

“We are focused on fixing infrastructure in our country and we believe that if we are able to fix infrastructure in our country, the roads, the rail and especially power, we will be able to make significant progress.”

“Today, our rail project starts from the Apapa Port so that we will be able to clear the congestion in that port because the Lagos to Kano railway begins from the Apapa port.”

“We can start taking our cargo from the Apapa port using rail as an alternative means of transportation.’’

On Agriculture, he said transformation had started in the sector with the partnership between Nigeria and Brazil.

According to him, reforms are being made in the Education and Healthcare sectors as emphasis is on digital literacy, training our teachers to be able to train the next generation of children in school.

“So, we are focusing on Science Technology Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) not Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).”

“We are focusing on training young people on digital skills, critical thinking and some other skills that are necessary for the kind of jobs that the 21st century will provide,’’ he said.

Buhari extolled Tinubu’s leadership qualities and contributions to the entrenchment of democracy in Nigeria.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said President Muhammadu Buhari may not be an orator but he has a track record of getting things done.

Osinbajo described Tinubu as an astute politician​ whose political achievements only very few Nigerians can boast of.

On his part, Tinubu said that government should continue to aggressively implement its national infrastructure plan.

He commended the current administration efforts and called on Nigerian​s to cooperate with the government in moving the country to the Next level.

Tinubu said that the phrase “Next-Level” is not just a political slogan but a call to action for change and development of Nigeria.

He said that Nigeria must commit to a national highway system linking its major cities and towns and centres of commerce with one another.

“In working to transform the face of our economy, government must also enact policies that encourage industrialisation and modern agricultural practices.

“We must applaud President Muhammadu Buhari for the historic innovations made in the Agricultural sector.”

“We must further encourage him to do even more; government funded social security for the aged and government backed affordable housing and mortgage facilities are things we must continue to explore in an aggressive manner.’’

He advised the Federal Government against increasing the Value Added Tax (VAT), adding that it would have negative impact on the citizens.

“Consumer spending is sleepy and this is where I will stop and appeal to Osinbajo and his team to put a huge question mark on any increase of VAT please.”

“If we reduce the purchasing power of the people, we can further slow down the economy. Let’s widen the tax net.”

“Those who are not paying now even if it is inclusive of Bola Tinubu; let the net get bigger and take more taxes and that is what we must do in the country instead of additional layer in taxes,” he said.

Also Commenting on “Nigeria’s Industrialisation Policy’’, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, unveiled the administration’s plans to spur the country’s industrialisation and growth.

He listed Eyimba Industrial City, Lekki Modern Industrial Park and Funtua Cotton Cluster as major projects to grow Nigeria.

The Eyimba city in Abia state, he said, covered 9,500 hectares of land. The master plan has been completed. The partners in the project included South Africa, United Arab Emirate, China and the African Export-Import Bank.

He reported that the power project for electricity had been put in place and the zone would create 625,000 jobs.

The Lekki park is occupying 1,000 hectares of land designed to handle export of manufactured goods. The feasibility study of the zone has been prepared, he said.

The Funtua cotton cluster, he said would pull more than 8,000 farmers together to restore cotton production and value chain as well as produce feeds for animals and spur textile industry. The zone, he said, would attract more than $2 billion investment.

Earlier, the Chief Host and Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, described Tinubu as a man with high political dexterity and a dogged national leader of APC who spearheaded the party to victory in the last presidential election.

Ambode said that Mr Tinubu had been a key to the successes and progress recorded by the current administration. Tinubu, he said, was also going to be part of the success of Nigeria in years to come. “We are here today to celebrate the coming down.’’

Ambode, said it was gratifying to note that the ‘Next Level’ promised by the APC government was already unfolding, adding that the next four years would engender massive development and service to the people.

“We are all expectant and we can feel the ‘Next Level’ unfolding. Our country is on the threshold of greatness because for the first time since our independence, we would have successive administrations of a progressive and visionary government; a government of integrity, a government whose sole interest is the well-being of Nigeria and Nigerians.”

“We are lucky to be here in this exciting time; in a time when our country will be led by selfless individuals who have the progress and prosperity of our people as their major objective and we are here today because Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been a very key part of this story.”

“We are here not only to celebrate him (Tinubu), but to celebrate the incoming dawn in Nigeria; we are here to celebrate the ‘next level’ in Nigeria where Nigerians will be served and given what is due to them,” Ambode said.

The governor, who attended the colloquium with his wife, Bolanle, particularly hailed Tinubu for his political dexterity, doggedness, undoubted courage and political acumen, saying the attributes of the national leader played key part in the electoral victory of APC at the Federal, National Assembly, governorship and state Assembly elections.

While describing the theme of the colloquium, “Next Level: Work For People,” as perfectly conceived and apt for the moment, Ambode said it was instructive that it was coming at a time when Nigerians were eagerly looking forward to revolutionary transformation in key sectors and sections of the country.

“This colloquium is coming at a time when the APC has spread its political tentacles even further in the country and this colloquium is coming at a time when Nigerians are eagerly looking forward to the next level in progressive politics, economic growth, social welfare and increased national security,” he said.

The colloquium was attended by President Buhari, who was represented by Vice President Osinbajo, APC National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, governors, ministers, members of the National Assembly, royal fathers, political leaders, captains of industry and members of the diplomatic corps, among others.

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