We won’t blame Buhari for our failures – Shettima

Friday Ajagunna
Friday Ajagunna
Kashim Shettima

Vice-President Kashim Shettima has stated that the current administration will not blame the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari for the challenges it encountered after taking over.

Speaking during the second Chronicle Roundtable, organised by the 21st Century Chronicle, the VP said this is the most difficult time to occupy political leadership in Nigeria due to the challenges facing the country.

He said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu decided to take a bitter pill for the country instead of settling for a placebo.

“The president chose the option that will save the lives of the people instead of the one that will prolong economic death. We will not resort to putting the blame on the previous administration, as leadership is about courage and continuity.”

“Before we took charge, the biggest elephant in the room was about fuel subsidy removal. It was an albatross round the neck of the nation for the past 20 to 30 years. We understood why our predecessor decided to remove subsidy because there was no sufficient budget for them in the fiscal year.

“A year before we took office, Nigeria’s debt service to revenue ratio had grown to 111.18 percent. It was an economic death sentence. To be clear to us, our debt service was that if you earn N100,000, you are forced to borrow an additional N11,800 to pay the debtor. How do we intend to survive this? It will be long before we become pariahs.”

He added that the subsidy has led to the diversion of resources from critical sectors and is laced with corruption masterminded by subsidy regime. “We have to jettison the subsidy regime, it was a bitter pill to swallow, but we had to do it.”

On the economic reforms it is carrying out, he said: “A presidential candidate in the last election, eager to mock our economic trajectory, once pointed Argentina as a model to Nigeria and became an overnight market specialist. He was convinced that we had missed our way and should have adopted the ways of our friends in South America.

“Barely two weeks ago, we watched as Argentina’s inflation rate surged. We respect what the president is doing there, but governance is not photocopying.”

He said the intervention of the CBN and NSA to neutralise influential currency manipulators that have conspired to frustrate its reforms led to the saving of the Naira.

“Today, I stand proud to say that our intervention has translated into desirable goals. Naira speculators were projecting that the Naira would go as far as N5,000 to the dollar. Some bought the dollar at the rate of N2,000 from banks.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, said the government needs to ensure it proves the economic situation as there are lots of people who are not wishing the country well.

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