President Bola Ahmed Tinubu Friday in Abuja said improved livelihood for Nigerians remains a top priority of his administration, with more people-focused economic policies, assuring that the national minimum wage needs a review to reflect realities.
The President, who received members of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) led by the Chairman, Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, at the State House, said the national and sub-national governments will work together on the minimum wage, which already requires “soul searching.’’
“We need to do some arithmetic and soul searching on the minimum wage,’’ he said. “We will have to take a look at that together, and the revenue. We must strengthen the source and application of our revenue.’’
President Tinubu urged the governors to seize the opportunity of being chosen among millions of citizens in their states to make a difference in the lives of people, adding that he will work for the benefit of Nigerians.
“This meeting is not strange to me, and the content of the meeting is so valuable. The camaraderie is very stimulating. This is about the Nigerian project, not Bola Tinubu,’’ he said.
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The President said that the multiple exchange rates will be streamlined, noting that governance was a continuum.
“I have inherited the assets and liabilities of my predecessor. This is the first time you entered the Council Chambers, and it is my first time too for a meeting.
“As progressives and thinkers under the umbrella of the All Progressives Congress (APC), you have a role to play in educating our people and making sure we manage ourselves,’’ the President told the governors.
President Tinubu said it was a good and encouraging sign that the APC has a majority in the National Assembly and some Houses of Assembly, which will make it easier to develop policies that will directly impact the economy and the people.
“If we work together, the Nigeria of our dreams is not far away. Rest assured that we will not have multiple exchange rates anymore. You asked for this meeting, and I had to set aside time to be here.
“We have a political party that we will need to manage, whichever way, we have inherited assets and liabilities, and we cannot complain,’’ he stated.
President Tinubu said he would maintain an open-door policy, willing to entertain issues, deliberate, and collectively find solutions to the challenges facing the country, including security.
“It is in our hands, and I am ready to work and listen at any time,’’ he added.
In his remarks, the Vice President, Sen. Kashim Shettima, called on the governors to rally around the President as he tackles the challenges that stagnate the economy, like the oil subsidy and multiple exchange rates.
“Let us rally around the President and not bulge, there are vested interests that may want to resist the subsidy removal. Its removal will free resources for the development of your states,” he added.
Earlier, the Governor of Imo State pledged the support of the Progressive Governors to the President, noting that the initial decisions already foretell good intentions for the economy.
“We are here today as members of the APC to fraternize with you as our leader, and congratulate you on your election as President, and Commander-in-Chief.
“We are using this opportunity to express our support for you at this trying time in our history,’’ he said.
Uzodinma noted that the President had started well, by placing the economy and welfare of the people on a priority list, with honesty of purpose.
“We are aware of your capacity and excellent track record,’’ the PGF Chairman stated.
The Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, said the development of the national and sub-national economies remains interwoven, assuring that President Tinubu would receive their support to succeed.
Other governors present at the meeting were Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum and Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, Yahaya Bello of Kogi, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Mai Mala Buni of Yobe, Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe, and Dikko Radda of Katsina State.
Governors Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, Hyacinth Alia of Benue, Umar Bago of Niger, Nasir Idris of Kebbi, Uba Sani of Kaduna, Umar Namadi of Jigawa, Nwifuru Francis Ogbonna of Ebonyi , Ahmed Aliyu of Sokoto, and Bassey Otu of Cross-River State were also present.
At the meeting, the President announced the appointment of Femi Gbajabiamila as Chief of Staff, Sen. Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia as Deputy Chief of Staff, and George Akume as Secretary to the Government of the Federation.