The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj.-Gen. Muhammad Buhari (retd), on Monday said if elected on February 14, he would ban the importation of basic items like rice and tomato in order to enhance local production of the products.
He also said his administration would focus on agriculture, mining, infrastructure and job provision at the top of its economic agenda.
Buhari, who gave a summary of how he intended to revive the economy in a meeting with the Organised Private Sector in Lagos, said his government would place emphasis on three key issues of security, tackling corruption and reviving the ailing economy.
The meeting, which had all the key members of the APC in attendance, was hosted by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola.
“How can Nigeria be importing virtually everything? How can we be importing even tomatoes? If I am elected, basic items like rice and tomatoes, which we have the capacity to produce, will be banned from being imported,” Buhari said.
The APC presidential candidate said his commitment to the Nigerian people would be governed by the highest consideration for how his policies would create jobs.
He also said he would focus on the provision of infrastructure such as power and roads.
Buhari, who said he agreed with the current administration on the privatisation of the power utilities, however, said there would be a need to also privatise the transmission segment.
According to him, the privatisation of the power sector has yet to achieve the desired result because after the handing over of the assets to private investors, the hard work to connect the various parts of the power chain, supply gas, install transformers and complete substations has not been done.
He added, “Our 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 give, the reduction in the cost of production, the savings from self-generation by Nigerians, who currently spend a lot of their income on purchase of diesel and petrol to generate their own electricity, will reduce the burden on their disposable income.”
An existing plan to build a refinery in Lagos will be supported by the Federal Government, according to Buhari.
Another area of infrastructure investment that will receive attention, according to him, is road and highway construction from one end of the country to the other.
He said his administration would concentrate on roads and highways that linked the states, while state governments would be expected to connect their respective areas to the highways.
Buhari said, “Road construction alone will unlock value chain of opportunities for construction companies, builders, engineers, architects, quarry operators, cement and iron rod producers and suppliers.
“The successful opening up of Nigeria by the construction of new roads and highways will revive road transport, truck manufacture, tyre manufacture as well as engine oil and brake pad production on one hand. It will also create a demand for job for mechanics, drivers and those engaged in transport support businesses.“We expect a revival of all the interstate economies to thrive across Nigeria, providing support to travellers by way of canteens, restaurants, farm produce etc.”
He, however, said because corruption was affecting the performance of the economy, he would tackle it headlong if elected into office.
According to him, the alleged $20bn missing crude oil proceeds, which was estimated to be equal to about N4.2tn, were nearly a year’s budget.
He said with N5m per vehicle, the amount could provide 840,000 patrol vehicles to help improve on the security of towns and villages across the country.
The APC presidential candidate also noted that the amount could provide 311,000 buses that could revolutionise the transport sector of the economy.
He said, “If the average cost of generating one megawatt of power is about $1.5m (excluding gas and distribution costs), $20bn would have brought us over 13,333MW of power. What a difference that will make in the country!