President Muhammadu Buhari held his first media chat yesterday and fielded questions ranging from the economy to national security.
Here are five of the crucial talking points from the Presidential chat.
The President disclosed that he will be exploring avenues to stop the National Assembly from their plan to spend N4.7 billion on the procurement of vehicles.
Although a copy of the budget in circulation shows that the Presidency also plans to spend N3.3 billion on saloon cars, the President said he had turned down a N400 proposal for cars for the Presidency.
“I turned down a N400million car proposal for the presidency. I said the cars I have are good enough for 10 years. We are having problem with the National Assembly regarding TSA. I have to holding a closed-door meeting with the National Assembly regarding the cars they are trying to buy. I hope they haven’t bought them yet.
They can’t buy cars for themselves and also take money in car loans. I can’t see the National assembly paying 4.5 Billion Naira to buy cars after collecting transport allowance. I will revisit that story. We have to live within our means.” President Buhari said.
On the big question of if Fuel subsidy will continue in the light of falling global oil prices, President Buhari has hinted that subsidy will likely be scrapped before the second quarter of 2016.
“By the end of the next quarter, we will not be talking about subsidy.” He said
The President also reiterated that he is open to negotiating with Book Haram for the release of the Chibok girls.
“We are keeping our options open. We are prepared to negotiate with boko haram for the girls” he said.
Dasuki’s rearrest today has prompted questions on the government’s respect for the constitution in its corruption war.
With critics condemning the refusal of the DSS to release Nnamdi Kanu despite a court order, the President insisted Kanu has a case to answer.
” You can see the type atrocities that those people committed against soldiers and the country. The former president goes to the governor of the Central Bank and say, ‘give N40bn to so, so, so… And then he fails to account for it and you allow him to go and see his daughter in London while and you have two million people in IDPs, half of them don’t even know their parents. Which kind of country do you want to run?
And the one you are calling Kanu. Do you know he has two passports – one Nigerian, one British – and he came to this country without any passport?… ”
The Central Bank restriction on foreign exchange is tightening the economy and leading to a drastic fall in the value of the Naira.
While many have called for a lessening of restrictions, it appears that the present forex policy will continue.
The President however conceded that foreign exchange will only be made available for the “productive sector”.