From Fred Itua, Abuja
An All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential aspirant, Moses Ayom, has declared that the current World Bank record of $26.2 billion annual economic losses for Nigeria due to poor access to electricity can be reversed through committed political leadership
Ayom, who is the first member of APC to declare for the position of President, ahead of the 2023 general elections, unveiled his plans through his known Twitter [email protected]
‘We have all the natural and human resources to guarantee a good life for every Nigerian, lead Africa and play big in the top league of advanced world economies,’ he said.
According to him, ‘Nigeria requires a sound leader; one that is committed to stimulating inclusive economic growth, technological innovation, and entrepreneurship that creates jobs and increases the standard of living for every Nigerian. A leader that is religiously committed to the promotion of justice, equity, and representation to give all entities in this country a practical stake and deep and heartfelt sense of inclusion as well as prioritising competence in public service where governance is seen as a tool for the service of all rather than an avenue for political patronage.’
As a first significant step towards reviving the economy, Ayom said his Presidency ‘would implement initiatives that would help turn the Southeast region into the Gwanzhou manufacturing hub of Africa and support locally produced goods with tax incentives.
‘We would encourage the manufacture and use of Made in Nigeria goods. As president, I would drive Innoson vehicles and make it mandatory for government agencies to follow suit.’
The entrepreneur said he will ensure a steady supply of electricity as a fundamental tool needed to build a modern and prosperous Nigeria.
‘According to the World Bank over 85 million Nigerians representing 43% of our population, don’t have access to grid electricity. The lack of reliable power is a significant constraint for both citizens and businesses. The World Bank estimate that we record annual economic losses estimated at $26.2 billion (₦10.1 trillion) which is equivalent to about 2 per cent of GDP,’ he said.
Ayom said Nigeria needs over 24,380 MW to power her economy and lamented that currently ‘our total installed generation capacity is 12,522 MW, but average operational generation capacity is just less than 5,000MW at peak, about 7.4% is lost in transmission, and up to 27.7% load is rejected at distribution.’
He said the ugly power situation in Nigeria required urgent reversal noting that power should be the second priority to security which he noted needed to be made stronger, well-equipped, properly motivated and better trained to tackle the many external and internal security challenges.
‘We would therefore sustain the tempo of investment in armed forces, forge alliances that ensure steady supply and availability of the most modern security equipment and promote discipline and professionalism in the rank and file of our security architecture.
‘We shall build a million-man strong-armed force with the most modern fighting equipment and training. This is because I believe what we need now is a superior force to destroy the resolve of those who threaten our peace while seeking long term solutions that would reduce the vulnerabilities of youth to insurgents, criminals, and destabilisers,’ he said.
On measures to boost the economy, Ayom pledged that his administration would create free trade zones in all 36 states and provide the basic tools and infrastructure that will attract both foreign and local investors for startups that will pick all the youths off the streets.
The aspirant believes that creating international development partnerships is key to ensuring a better future for Nigeria.
As an entrepreneur experienced in solid mineral development, Ayom noted that massive investment in the mining sector would serve as catalysts for a job-powered economy.
‘When citizens have access to jobs when citizens are well educated and have the tools to earn a decent living, there will be a corresponding decline in crime, banditry, and other forms of social vices,’ he said
Ayom disclosed that his deep involvement and wide experience in the mining sector put him on a business trip with President Buhari, Aliko Dangote to China in 2016, an event he said later attracted N1 billion facility to his firm, ‘Granite and marble’ from the CBN under its Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF) intervention.
‘Granite and marble while on the delegation signed an MOU with SBM China, the biggest manufacturer of mining equipment in the world,’ the aspirant said.
According to him, whenever the facility which was facilitated by the late Ismaila Isa Funtua, is activated and ignited, Nigeria’s mining sector would witness a turnaround.
He added: ‘During that trip, Nigeria signed major transformative deals with the Republic of China. A notable one was the N720BN currency swap deal. The Bilateral Currency Swap (BCS) agreement was to allow importers of goods from China to conclude their transactions in Yuan instead of the greenback (US Dollar) and vice-versa. This was done to reduce the demand of the US Dollar, reducing the pressure of the Naira at the time, one of CBN’s many policies in managing the Naira.
‘Another one was a 2.6 billion dollars deal to support the Dangote refinery to boost local refining capacity and tackle the burden of fuel imports.’
Ayom also spoke on tackling challenges in other sectors like education, healthcare, Social Infrastructure including roads, bridges, transportation systems to ensure free and cost-effective movement of goods and services.
‘Particularly, we would concentrate on partnerships with the Chinese Railway Corporation for revamping of old routes and expansion of modern railway lines across the country,’ he noted.
On Education, Ayom said his administration ‘shall expand investment in education to ensure that every Nigerian has access to quality and affordable education as a matter of national security.
‘We shall invest in our hospitals and medical centres in urban and rural areas, encourage private sector players to set up world-class health centres to discourage medical tourism and ensure health for all.
‘Particularly, we would set up 6 Regional State of the Art Hospitals nationwide that would be managed by reputable international management firms so that no one needs to travel out for medicals,’ he said.
Stressing the need for rapid industrialisation in Nigeria, Ayom said: ‘With the improvement that we hope to record in our power supply system, we hope to encourage the growth of industries in the country. This would power production of high-quality goods for both domestic use and exports.’
He spoke about the need to invest in expansive agriculture and agribusiness, adding that ‘we would encourage commercial agriculture and take advantage of increasing world demand for food.’
On Climate Change, he said: ‘Climate change will be key to the administration’s agenda.
‘We would work with relevant international organisations, ensure that our growth plans are climate-smart and environmentally friendly.’
On tackling the Drug Epidemic, he noted that the drug epidemic across the country is now a security problem. ‘It is fueling insurgents, kidnappers, and criminals across the country. We would set up a marshal plan to deal with this problem frontally.’
In declaring support for the presidential ambition of Ayom, clergymen in the Middlebelt region, particularly Imams, called on former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, APC National leader, and former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, as well as former President of the Senate, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, to withdraw interests from the 2023 Presidency for Ayom.
Speaking for all Middlebelt Imams at the occasion, Muhammad Salisu, said: ‘We call on some of the revered father’s of our party including the leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to support the Moses Ayom project and take the reserved seat of a father and adviser, the same call also goes out to our co- Muslims across party lines who are being touted to be interested in contesting for the presidency. These include the former vice president The Waziri Adamawa, Atiku Abubakar, the former senate president Bukola Saraki and others to tow that path of honour by supporting a Middle Belt Christian in the person of chief Ayom to be elected president this time.
‘We also call Chief Bisi Akande, our pioneer chairman, to also allow this desired shift in order to harness the desired peace and religious harmony needed to the continued rapid development of our country.’