President Bola Tinubu has been that Nigeria will sustain its spotlight on African countries as the fulcrum of its economic and foreign policies.
He spoke on Friday while receiving the President of the Benin Republic, Patrice Talon, after the Summit on the New Global Financing Pact in Paris, France.
A statement by presidential spokesman, Dele Alake, quoted Tinubu as stating that trade issues, security, and border controls would be mutually implemented.
The President added that bilateral relations with African countries, particularly at the sub-regional level, would be enhanced for shared benefits in areas of security, health, energy, education, and diplomacy.
“We are ready to improve relations. Africa has been the centerpiece of Nigeria’s foreign policy,” he said.
“I believe in Africa. We have the necessity to grow the continent. The world’s economy is wobbling, and Africa has been left behind.
“On risk factors, Africa is always placed high, with higher interest rates on borrowing. We are always classified as high-risk. We must work together for systematic recovery and growth.”
Also, while speaking with members of the Nigerian community in France, Tinubu described fuel subsidies as a “scam” and disincentive to growth, saying they rewarded smugglers and reduced the burden of the “real cost” of the commodity for some countries.
Tinubu explained that the Special Adviser on Monetary Policy, Wale Edun, and Alake had excluded fuel subsidy removal from his inaugural speech, “but he felt it was expedient to stop the subsidy on the first day”.
This marked the first time the President would publicly comment on his May 29 inaugural speech, in which he declared that “fuel subsidies are gone.”
The comment sparked a near-instant hike in prices and hoarding, leading to calls for protests by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). This is despite former President Muhammadu Buhari’s early moves to end the payment of fuel subsidies by June.