Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has rejected austerity measures for Nigerians, asking the federal government to introduce stimulus packages instead.
Speaking at the colloquium held in commemoration of his 69th birthday on Monday, Tinubu said citizens have been fasting for so many years.
Nigeria recently hit its highest record of unemployment ever just as the country exited a pandemic-induced recession.
The Buhari administration has, however, not been able to introduce new widespread measures to cushion effects of the ensuing hardship other than the social welfare packages that have been in place.
Speaking at the colloquium in Kano state, Tinubu said the executive and national assembly must intervene with heavy stimulus packages just as is being done in some countries like United States.
“It is time to put stimulus in place. This is no time for austerity; this is not the time to constrain the economy,” the former governor of Lagos told a gathering mostly consisting of the ruling APC chieftains.
“This is the time to create the opportunity. If you hear America spending $1.9tn and they are not looking back and they are still asking for $3 trillion for infrastructure and renewal and creating jobs and your own unemployment rate is 33 percent and you ask us to keep on fasting.
“We are not fasting any more. We have been fasting for many years. I hope the national assembly (and) the president himself will not pay attention to austerity.
“Nigerians have been fasting for a very long time; we need a break now. Your own employment rate is 33 percent and you ask us to keep on fasting. The one we are fasting spiritually is voluntary. We have been fasting for so many years.”
The APC leader added that the president and federal lawmakers must not pay attention to austerity because “it is only the state that must constrain itself and balance budget.”