Minister of State, Labour and Employment cum Spokesman of the Tinubu-Shettima presidential campaign, Festus Keyamo has explained the reason student loans promised by Bola Tinubu when the All Progressives Congress (APC) was campaigning in 2015 did not materialise.
Keyemo said recessions were the reason the promise did not see the light of day.
He started this during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today monitored by TNC.
Keyamo spoke against the backdrop of the contents of the recently released manifesto of the APC presidential candidate.
When he was asked about the loan promise in the manifesto when the one the APC presidential candidate promised in 2015 was not fulfilled, the labour minister said recessions which the country entered into after the APC took over the government contributed to the inability of the government to fulfil the student loan promise.
“I think the roadmap and foundation are being laid, let me tell you why, you see because you also need to ramp up revenue first and make them available for students to tap into that revenue base and that is why we are talking about revenue now, how to ramp up those revenues,” he said.
“In 2014, no less a person that Okonjo-Iweala who was then Minister of Finance told everyone that we are headed to recession, so we did not give that excuse, it was the PDP government that said at the time they were leaving that the country was on a downward slide towards recession and that was in 2013 and 2014.
“Now what happened therefore was that we came in and met that recession and then the country slid into recession but because of the deftness of the handling of the economy we came out of that recession faster than even the IMF predicted and also the second recession, we came out faster than they predicted.”
Keyamo also added low oil production to the factors that ensured that his party didn’t deliver on its promise, but maintained that the dream to fulfil them remains alive.
“Then we now met low oil production that dropped to 700 barrels per day at times 600 barrels per day when we should have been on 2.3 million barrels per day, we met those problems on the ground, so there was a problem of revenue, but the dream remained alive. The dream to fulfil these promises is still alive today as we begin to ramp up our revenues and rescue the economy where PDP left the economy and that is where we are now,” the APC campaign spokesperson added.
Keyamo also said when asked if Tinubu will fulfil the promise this time around, “Because we are now talking about a situation where we have laid a foundation to the point where we are going to now have more revenues and the partway to have those revenues have been laid, you cannot meet those expectations without revenues and I just told you those vagaries of local oil disruptions and the international headwinds that we have had to face disrupted revenues, so it is a matter of fact that I am stating.”
He further said Tinubu does not need to apologise to Nigerians for the inability to fulfil the earlier promise.
“No, do you have to apologise to perhaps a force majeure? When you have a force majeure you don’t apologise.”