May 26, 2024

#UNGA2023: President Tinubu justifies petrol subsidy removal, seeks support in Nigeria, Africa fight against climate change ‘On Their Own Terms’



Oredola Adeola


President Tinubu has urged world leaders to support Nigeria and Africa in their fight against climate change ‘On Their Own Terms’, emphasizing that Nigeria and African nations will fight climate change based on their own economic efforts, including the mass production and distribution of gas-burning stoves to halt the destruction of forests, and The Great Green Wall to stop desert encroachment, among other projects that advance economic and climate change objectives.



He further justified the removal of the petrol subsidy, saying in my first days in office, I removed the costly and corrupt fuel subsidy while also discarding a noxious exchange rate system to foster economic growth and investor confidence in Nigeria.



President Tinubu made this known in his address at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, in New York City, released by Ajuri Ngelale,  Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity) on Tuesday.



He stated that Nigeria and other African leaders are seeking enhanced international cooperation with the continent to achieve the 2030 agenda and Sustainable Development Goals which aims to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030 including specific targets related to energy access, renewable energy, and efficient energy use.



According to him, we realize that the underlying conditions and causes of the economic challenges facing today’s Africa are significantly different from those of post-war Europe.



“We realize that underlying conditions and causes of the economic challenges facing today’s Africa are significantly different from those of post-war Europe. We are not asking for identical programs and actions.



“Today and for several decades, Africa has been asking for the same level of political commitment and devotion of resources that described the Marshall Plan.



President Tinubu further noted that his aggressive economic development diplomatic push for new investment has been demonstrably effective in presenting Nigeria as business-ready, but the ease of doing business, according to him, might not be the major encumbrance to large-scale investment.



He said the question is not whether Nigeria is open for business. The question is how much of the world is truly open to doing business with Nigeria and Africa in an equal, mutually beneficial manner.



“Direct investment in critical industries, opening their ports to a wider range and larger quantity of quality African exports, and meaningful debt relief are important aspects of the cooperation we desire,” the President affirmed.



The President equally noted that the global fight against the effects of climate change cannot be based on a “one size fits all” approach and that nations must cooperate within the design and implementation of their strategies, which are tailored to their respective socio-economic strengths and weaknesses.



“African nations will fight climate change, but we must do so on our terms. To achieve the needed popular consensus, this campaign must accord with our overall economic efforts. In Nigeria, we shall build political consensus by highlighting remedial actions which also promote the broader economic good, ” he said.



Projects such as ‘The Great Green Wall’ to stop desert encroachment; halting the destruction of our forests through the mass production and distribution of gas-burning stoves; and the provision of employment through local water management and irrigation projects are examples of efforts that equally advance both economic and climate change objectives simultaneously.



“Continental efforts regarding climate change will register important victories, only if established economies were more forthcoming with public and private sector investment for Africa’s preferred projects and initiatives,” the President cautioned.



President Tinubu, therefore, emphasised that the time is now for UN member states to show, with their actions, that they mean what they say concerning the crackdown on terror financing, economic sabotage, and illicit mineral & arms smuggling in the developing world.



According to him, ” pillage of one nation’s resources by the overreach of firms and people of stronger nations must now end,” the President declared.



He said, “The fourth important aspect of global trust and solidarity is to secure the continent’s mineral-rich areas from pilfering and conflict. Many such areas have become catacombs of misery and exploitation. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has suffered this for decades, despite the strong UN presence there. The world economy owes the DRC much but gives her very little.



“Foreign entities that are abetted by local criminals, who aspire to be petty warlords, have drafted thousands of our people into servitude to illegally mine gold and other resources. Billions of dollars meant to improve the nation now fuel countless violent enterprises. If left unchecked, they will threaten peace and place national security at grave risk.



“Given the extent of this injustice and the high stakes involved, many Africans are asking whether this phenomenon is by accident or by design. Member nations must reply by working with us to deter their firms and nationals from this 21st-century pillage of the continent’s riches. To keep faith with the tenets of this world body and the theme of this year’s Assembly, the poverty of nations must end.



President  Tinubu concluded by saying, “Walk with us as true friends and partners. Africa is not a problem to be avoided, nor is it to be pitied. Africa is nothing less than the key to the world’s future.”