The major headlines in mainstream newspapers today, Friday, March 29 are all relating to issues arising from the the 11th Bola Tinubu Colloquium which took place in Abuja on Thursday, March 28.
Kicking off the review, The Guardian reports that President Muhammadu Buhari could not attend the 11th colloquium commemorating the 67th birthday anniversary of the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The colloquium, which took place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on Thursday, March 28, attracted virtually all the big names in the ruling party.
The publication reports that Buhari’s absence, which it described as a repeat of history, drew side comments from the dignitaries.
Some recalled how the president’s failure to attend a forum convened by the APC leader on June 9, 2015 led to a leadership imbroglio at the National Assembly. However, while the colloquium was taking place, the president was about a kilometer away, attending the launch of the Micro Pension Plan organised by the National Pension Commission at the State House Conference Centre.
The paper adds that the president may have stayed away to avoid close contact with Senator Ahmed Lawan and Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, the two gladiators jostling for the leadership of the ninth National Assembly.
Vanguard reports that at his 11th colloquium, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu charged the Muhammadu Buhari administration not to burden the citizenry with foreign economic models that bring penury as it projects towards the next level.
Tinubu, whose speech was entitled, “Work for the people that the people may work for themselves”, stated that the government must resist the temptation to blindly follow the economic path of other nations as it seeks to achieve the desired economic boom for Nigeria.
The APC national leader also warned against the planned increment of taxes by the government, saying it would worsen the poverty levels of the common people.
Tinubu suggested that rather than raising taxes which would exacerbate the plight of the people, government could widen its tax nets.
Mirroring the previous publication, ThisDay reports that Bola Tinubu warned the federal government against the planned move to increase Value Added Tax (VAT), saying doing so would reduce people’s purchasing power and further slow down the economy.
While making his closing remarks at the 11th Bola Tinubu Colloquium, the APC national leader said the timing of the proposed VAT increase is wrong.
He advised that instead of increasing VAT in this moment of economic upheavals, the government should rather broaden the scope of tax collection with a view to making more people pay and thus put paid to any planned increase in VAT rate.
He said: “Consumer spending is slipping and this is where I will stop and appeal to Professor Yemi Osinbajo and his team to put a huge question mark on any increase of VAT please. If we reduce the purchasing power of the people, we can further slow down the economy. Let’s widen the tax net.
“Those who are not paying now, even if it is inclusive of Bola Tinubu, let the net get bigger and take more taxes and that is what we must do in the country instead of additional layer in taxes.”
Still on the issue, The Nation reports that at the 11th Bola Tinubu Colloquium, the APC national leader advised the federal government not to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT).
The publication notes that Tinubu asserted that a new VAT regime will increase the burden of Nigerians. He said what should be done, rather, is to widen the tax net for more people to pay.
According to the former Lagos governor, the time had come for Nigeria to look inward and initiate people-friendly policies. He warned that there were clear indications of the global economy gradually going into recession.
Tinubu pointed out that forecasters have been predicting that the global economy will go into recession within the next 12 to 18 months.
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Rounding off the review, Punch reports that stakeholders in the nation’s power sector have expressed divergent views on the call by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, for the federal government to revisit the privatisation of the sector.
The publication recalls that following the unbundling of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria , the federal government handed over the nation’s generation and distribution companies to private investors on November 1, 2013,.
At the 11th Bola Tinubu Colloquium, the APC national leader urged the government to revisit the privatisation of the sector, saying the country could not afford to be too legalistic about it.
He advised the government to bring experts together for a more constructive reform to improve power generation, transmission and distribution by any means necessary.
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Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu speaks about the local government election in Lagos state - on Legit TV: