Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos state and national stalwart of All Progressives Congress (APC) on Sunday has clarified that he did not call for the printing of naira notes.
The clarification was contained in a statement titled: A message on the coronavirus – A tie for unity, a time for thought, a time for action, was “misunderstood and misreported”.
According to him, he admonished the Federal Government not be afraid to spend as much naira as is required to protect the economy from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tinubu said in a statement last night: “In the statement, I provided, among other things, my thoughts on the economic impact of COVID-19 across the world and in Nigeria.
“I believe that the virus has the potential to be a grave economic threat to our nation. Knowing this, I decided to use the platform to make known my thoughts should it become necessary for the government to act.
“Thankfully, we have not seen the worst of the virus but we must be bold and we must be prepared should the time for action ever arise.
“In this connection, I included nine specific recommendations for the government to consider, to boost confidence, protect vulnerable citizens and safeguard our economy.
“These were: (i) maintaining (or expanding) present levels of government spending; (ii) focusing expenditure on public infrastructure and transportation (if the virus does not hit strongly) and health care (if it does); (iii) tax reduction and VAT suspension; (iv) food security; (v) lower interest rates; (vi) quantitative easing by the CBN to prop up the financial markets; (vii) exchange rate flexibility; (viii) debt suspension to support individuals and the private sector; and (ix) direct economic support for the poor.
“The core principle underpinning all of the above is that the Federal Government must adopt a countercyclical fiscal policy and should not be afraid to spend as much naira as is required to protect the economy.
“One thing I absolutely did not call for was the literal printing of new naira notes by the federal government. Such a suggestion is extremely far-fetched and has never been on my mind.
“It is unfortunate that my prescriptions were so badly misunderstood and misreported.
“To be clear, I do not want, nor am I calling for, the Federal Government to print a single new naira note.
“What I do want is for the government to meet the coming economic challenges with a swift, bold and effective spending plan.
“Those who, until now, would spend their time beating up on straw men should give us their own plans. If, that is, they even have any.”