Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, disclosed that he might consider a government of national unity if elected president next year. He said this was to help douse tension and unite the Nigerian people.
Atiku criticised the All Progressives Congress (APC) federal administration for increasing the national debt burden, saying the government has been unreasonably upbeat about the reported growth rate of 3.4%.
In the statement signed by him, Atiku said, there “is the consideration of a government of national unity that will douse the temperature, unite Nigerians and pave the way for improved security. Improved security allows for investments and, therefore, an improved economy.”
Atiku said, if elected, he would target tax rebate, as a measure to encourage foreign and local investments into Nigeria, adding that the economy is in deeper trouble than the APC government is willing to admit.
The PDP presidential candidate stated, “The citizens’ level of misery hasn’t changed, and the reasons are obvious. First, the key sectors of the economy, notably agriculture, oil and gas (the country’s cash cow), and manufacturing (that contributes to jobs), are either growing slowly or declining.
“Second, unabated are rising commodity prices occasioned by high energy and transportation costs (and aggravated by the disorderliness in the forex market).”
Atiku said the debt levels had continued to rise while the fiscal capacity to service the country’s debts declined. He added that all these were enough to erase the perceived gains from output growth.
He explained, “Having run out of ideas, it appears that our unprecedented level of indebtedness is whetting the government’s appetite for more debt. This is a recipe for macroeconomic instability.
“We challenge the National Bureau of Statistics to share with the public their recent statistics on poverty, unemployment, and commodity prices — the reality of which will leave no hope for the common man.
“Like I have said before, increasing debts will never be a solution to our indebtedness. My government, if elected, will halt the rate of debt accumulation and, instead, focus on private-public partnerships in financing development.”
Atiku said it was in view of the state of the nation that he was considering a unity government.
He promised, “Targeted tax rebates to attract foreign and local investments, amongst other proactive measures to attract investments to grow the economy.”