The Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), retired Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday said he would take practical steps to strengthen Nigeria’s economy if elected. Buhari made the pledge during a meeting with members of the Organised Private Sector at the Lagos State Government House, Marina, in Lagos.
Reports showed that the meeting, tagged “GMD Means Business”, was to articulate Buhari’s economic plans for the nation.
Apart from leading businessmen that were at the meeting, top APC chieftains including the National Chairman, Chief Odigie Oyegun, Gov. Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers and Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, also attended the forum. Others were former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, and former Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
Buhari said he would design economic policies tailored toward promoting the country’s prosperity and creating jobs. “Our economic plans will be practical and our policies for implementing our commitments will be governed by the highest consideration of how they create jobs,” he said.
Giving a breakdown of his plans, the APC candidate said he would create the enabling environment for industrialisation to thrive. He said he would revive the textile mills and similar industries that once produced thousands of jobs for Nigerians.
Buhari added that he would invest massively in infrastructure and open up opportunities through the construction of highways linking all parts of the country.
“Road construction alone will unlock a value chain of opportunities in the building industry for construction companies, builders, cement and iron rod production and supply. “The successful opening up of Nigeria by the construction of new roads and highways will revive road transportation, trucks manufacturing and others on one hand.
“It will also create a demand for jobs for mechanics, drivers and those engaged in transport support businesses,” he said.
Buhari also said he planned to pursue efforts that would support the building of local refineries for jobs creation and economic growth.
He said he was in support of the Power Reforms but that he would do more to improve power generation. “We agree with the privatisation of the power utilities but we believe it must go further to transmission. “After the signing and hand-over ceremonies of the power assets, the real work of producing, transmitting and distributing power is really just beginning.
“The reason why the success seems elusive is that apart from the signing ceremony and handing over of the power assets, the hard work to connect the various parts of the power chain, supply gas, install transformers, complete substations has not been done. “Studies show that we will require no less than 200,000 trained personnel to support the initiative to provide power and light up Nigeria.
“Apart from the inherent direct employment that this will bring, the reduction in cost of production, it would also reduce the burden of Nigerians who spend a lot to generate their electricity,” he said. The retired general said he would promote investment in agriculture to boost food sufficiency and jobs creation. The APC candidate urged Nigerians to invest their trust in him, saying he would improve on the country’s economy if elected.