Peter Obi, vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says Nigeria’s economy will keep “bleeding” if President Muhammadu Buhari remains in power for another four years.
Speaking in Lagos on Saturday, Obi made reference to the 2019 budget Buhari presented to the national assembly on Wednesday.
According to him, Nigeria will not survive if Buhari’s goes ahead with plans to tax “poor Nigerians,” in line with provisions of the proposed budget which is largely focused on debt servicing.
“We need to know where we are going as a nation but with Buhari at the helms of affairs, we do not know where we are going. Buhari is not in charge of this government as he does not know or care what the poor people are going through,” he said.
“Nigerians are currently the poorest people on earth, yet the Muhammadu Buhari administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is still looking at taxing them the more.
“Take look at the budget presented by the President a few days ago and you will see that it does not give anyone hope instead, it tells us that we are still where we have always been.
“A quarter of the budget is meant to service debts, and that is about 60% of the budget while the President keeps telling Nigerians to tighten their belts because of the harsh times staring at us in the future.
“Does that give anyone confidence in this government? Not at all, I dare say. While presenting the budget, he said that the government is looking for ways to tax Nigerians the more. What are you taxing the poor people for?
“Does that give any one of us hope in this government? That means that if we keep them for the next four years, we are finished.”
Outlining what Atiku Abubakar, PDP presidential candidate, will do to “reverse the situation” if elected to power, Obi said focus will be placed on reviving small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
He said Atiku’s administration will restore investor confidence and improve ease of doing business in the country to stimulate economic growth.
“We know the situation looks gloomy but we are not scared of going in to salvage the country. The situation with Nigeria is like an accident victim. The first thing to do in such a situation is to stop the bleeding first by applying first aid before the real treatment,” he said.
“Unless the right steps are taken to stop the bleeding, we will still be where we have been for years.
“It’s going to be difficult but we know where we are going and what we are going to do. To put the Nigerian economy back on a sound footing, we have to take a holistic look at SMEs because only then will you rescue the dwindling economy.
“We need to change the way we do things in this country if we ever hope to come out of this economic quagmire we have found ourselves in. We must change the way we do things in this country or we will continue to grope in the dark.”