Bola Ahmed Tinubu National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, says he hasn’t called for the “literal printing of new naira notes” in his suggestions on the economic measures to be taken to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The former Lagos state governor said: “Such a suggestion is extremely far-fetched and has never been on my mind. It is unfortunate that my prescriptions were so badly misunderstood and misreported.”
Tinubu, in a statement on his 68th birthday, called on the Federal Government to maintain spending and temporarily suspend Value Added Tax (VAT).
He said: “To be clear, I do not want, nor am I calling for the Federal Government to print a single new naira note. What I do want is for the government to meet the coming economic challenges with a swift, bold and effective spending plan. Those who, until now, would spend their time beating up on straw men should give us their own plans. If, that is, they even have any.”
The former Lagos state governor called for increased stipends to the poor by widening the net and substantially increase the beneficiaries of the “anti-poverty” stipends. Tinubu said the COVID-19 pandemic called for unity of purpose among Nigerians in order to defeat the virus. According to him, prudent fiscal policy is generally “countercyclical.”
“As the private sector shrinks, government does more,” he added. He also advised the government to announce a tax credit or partial tax reduction for companies or firms while the Value Added Tax (VAT) should be suspended for the next 2-4 months, saying this will help lower import costs and protect against shortages.
He also called for lowering of interest rates “to spur borrowing and private sector activity.”
Tinubu stressed that the minimum the federal government can do was to “stick to its naira budgetary expenditures.” “In fact, government should increase naira expenditures by at least 10 – 15 percent during an emergency. Allocations to state and local governments should be included in this addition. If not, we risk subnational recessions in important sections of the country,” he advised.