Mr Lekan Otufodunrin, President, Journalist for Christ (left); Kingsley Ighomwenghian, Managing Editor, Independent Newspapers Limited (INL) (second left); Prophet Stephen Aremu, Senior Pastor, Olorunkole Mountain, Ibadan (third left); Steve Omanufeme, Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, INL (third right); Prophetess Temilola Fakunmoju, founder, The Light of God Church, Akute (second right), and Pastor Yemi Adebisi, Editor, Saturday Independent, during INL Christian Fellowship annual thanksgiving service held in Ogba, Lagos




By Oluwatope Lawanson

Mr Steve Omanufeme, Managing Director/Editor-In- Chief, Daily Independent Newspapers, has urged the Federal Government to implement friendly policies to enable businesses to flourish in the country.

Omanufeme made the appeal during the 2023 Annual Thanksgiving Service of the Daily Independent Newspapers, held on Wednesday at Ogba, Lagos.

He also advised President Bola Tinubu to avoid announcing plans without putting proper measures in place to ameliorate the attendant effects.

Omanufeme agreed that the pronouncement of the economic policies by the Tinubu was long overdue.

He, however, said that the timing was not right adding that it should have been properly planned and phased out.

According to him, the pronouncement of subsidy removal, floating the Naira on the same day has cost so many things.

Omanufeme said the President needs to be more active, more articulate and spell out his policies to the disbelieving public.

“Before removing subsidies, measures with direct impact on the population ought to be put in place in order to significantly ameliorate the adverse consequences of the fuel subsidy removal.

“Fuel is the only subsidy the government was giving the masses, so, for it be to taken away, they should provide mass transport for the people, provide potable water, fix roads and other basic and social amenities.

“For example, in America, fuel is high. The cost of tax is high but they have a metro. They have a mapped-out plan to mediate the high cost.

Omanufeme said that the economic realities had impacted so many businesses thereby causing joblessness and poverty in the land.

According to him, due to the high cost of production, Independent as a company had to change its distribution method.

“The cost of printing is a lot. We spend about ₦10 million every week, on logistics and a number of other factors. This was a difficult decision but it was a good decision,” he said.

He advised the government not to only issue orders to ameliorate the negative impacts of tax adjustments on businesses, but to also evolve policies to free its hold on households across affected sectors,

“The exchange rate of naira to the dollar fluctuates heavily. Therefore, our economists need to rally around the government.”

He suggested tax reforms that would enable proper functioning of government and the economy.

While admitting that times were hard, Omanufeme advised journalists to take proper care of their health.

“Though our type of work is demanding and has to do with meeting deadlines, we should learn to structure our time, watch what we eat, take exercise, and rest well.”

Similarly, Mr Lekan Otufodurin, Executive Director, Media Career Development Network, urged the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the country.

He stated that the economic policies of the President were impoverishing Nigerians.

Otufodurin questioned the sensitivity of the government toward the wellbeing of Nigerians, especially on the removal of fuel subsidy and floating of the naira.

He said that the policies had resulted in unbearable high cost of living, with attendant escalated poverty, hunger and insecurity

According to him, they need to acknowledge that the people are going through challenges and necessary measures should be put in place to overcome these challenges.

“Policies can be reversed as long as it is for the betterment of the country. If they need to cut down on expenses, that should also be considered.”

Otufodurin, who is also the President, Journalists For Christ, however, noted that the economic challenges were not peculiar to Nigeria, but the difference was the mindset, God factor and the work that was put in.

He, therefore, adviced Nigerians to have faith, put in the the right work and hope for the best in whatever they do.

For Christians in the media space, he said that their testimony should be that they are Christ-like in everything they do and are ambassadors for Christ.

“An ambassador must represent well.

“We pray for wisdom for our government for God to direct them and the people, especially Christians, that whereever we are, whatever we are, we must do right,” he said.

Also, Mr Yemi Adebisi, Editor, Independent Newspapers (Saturday) advised them to believe in themselves and be stronger in faith.

According to him, the people should not only work hard, but work smart. NAN

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