From Chris Anucha, Port Harcourt
Former Abia State governor and eminent businessman, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu has advised President Muhammad Buhari to source for funds, including from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and inject same into the economy, to enable the country come out of the current economic recession.
Such money, he said, could be channeled into massive construction of roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects. Kalu gave the advice in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, at the weekend, when he fielded questions from newsmen during the official opening of Swiss Spirit Hotel.
He noted that majority of Nigerians are artisans, who could become key players in the nation’s economy if the Federal Government can pay more attention to agriculture and other non-oil sectors. “Once artisans are active, the economy will be active,” he said and stressed that money spent on infrastructure development would eventually create more jobs for the citizenry.
The former governor said president Buhari’s experience as former military Head of State, places him in a position to take the country out of recession and make the economy flourish once again.
He said 2017 has started on a promising note, indicating the economic growth would be high this year. He, however appealed to the president to stimulate the economy “for the survival of Nigerians and the country.”
“Everybody knows the country is very bad and businesses are not doing well. So, in this kind of situation, it behooves on the federal government to create emergency laws, and authorisation from the National Assembly, to be able to put stimulus immediately. The federal government should look for money from anywhere and pump into the economy. That money should go into road construction, bridges and into agriculture,” he said.
He dismissed the belief in some quarters that the president is being controlled by a cabal. “He cannot allow himself to be controlled by forces that want his administration to fail Buhari has been president before; this issue of people controlling him is unacceptable because he was a two-star army General. He was minister of Petroleum and former chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF). I advise he should take the bull by the horns, go immediately and conquer Nigeria, economically.
“I was in PDP, yesterday, and I was in PPA. Today, I am in APC. So, he needs to surprise us by ensuring that our people are eating from the table. It is very important because, if Nigerians do not eat every day, it is dangerous for leadership.”
Kalu noted that Buhari has a competent team working with him and urged him to address the needs of Nigerians.
He advised Nigerians not to wait for free money, and added that, “it is not possible. People should roll up their sleeves and work for their money and the money will be sweeter to spend.”
He urged Nigerians to invest in agriculture and other non-oil sectors to create more job opportunities, adding that, “oil is toxic. We need to rethink, to see how well we can come out of the recession. The recession is affecting everybody; the president should be able to put stimulus and proper planning strategy on line. I still urge the president that the easiest way of getting loan is the IMF. The president might disagree with me, but, it is the only way because, IMF will give us the right framework and the right frame of thought on what to do. We might not need the loan at the end of the day, but, we must go to the IMF,” Kalu insisted.