President Muhammadu Buhari and agents of the Federal Government outline achievements recorded in the past three years of the administration.
BY OSCAR NWOGU
In a national broadcast to the nation, May 29,2018, to mark the 3rd year anniversary of his government, President, Muhammadu Buhari said that his government excelled in the three major areas of his campaign promises to the people of Nigeria. He listed the three as fight against Insurgency, anti-corruption and the revamping of economy.
Buhari stated that public safety and security remains the primary duty of government and noted that before his administration came into being three years ago, Boko Haram held large areas of land spanning several local governments in the North East. ‘’But today, the capacity of the insurgents has been degraded, leading.
The president further said that in order to minimize the impact of the insurgency on internally displaced persons, IDPs, Government has established secure IDP Camps and has improved the mechanism for distribution of basic aids, food and essential commodities, using various strategies in collaboration with local and international organisations.
“Efforts are in process for resettlement of IDPs in their home communities by providing schools, hospitals, clinics, water and sanitation to facilitate a quick return to economic activities. Government is similarly implementing de-radicalization and rehabilitation programs to facilitate sustainable peace and development”, the president added.
On the incidences of kidnappings, herdsmen and farmers clashes in several communities which have led to high number of fatalities and loss of properties across the country, the president said that it is being addressed saying that identified culprits and their sponsors shall be made to face the wrath of the law.
This administration, the president said, is pained over the grievous loss of lives and property occasioned by the carnage associated with insurgency and other forms of criminality in the country, promising that he will not rest until all criminal elements and their sponsors are brought to justice.
Government, President Buhari said, “is boosting the capacity of our security agencies through recruitment of more personnel, training and procurement of modern equipment, enhancement of intelligence gathering as well as boosting their morale in the face of daunting challenges”
He further noted that the Niger Delta region has enjoyed relative peace through social inclusiveness and cooperation of the elders and good people of the region, adding that government is committed to implementing the comprehensive peace, security and development plan of the region.
On the fight against corruption, the president said that Nigerians and the international community have been applauding the determination of the administration to bring corruption to its knees. “We are more than ever determined to win this war, however hard the road is”
Various policy measures already put in place to stem the tide of corrupt practices which he said are yielding remarkable results include the Treasury Single Account TSA, the whistle Blowing Policy, the Presidential Initiatives on Continuous Audit the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme, VAIDS and Sovereign Wealth Fund.
Over 200 billion naira has been saved from the elimination of ghost workers in the public service through the Treasury Single Account as well as billions of naira saved from maintenance fee payable to banks.
Through the Whistle Blowing Policy, government has recovered over N500 billion while government has identified and removed over 52,000 ghost workers from the Federal government MDA’s payroll through the Presidential Initiatives on Continuous Audit. The Sovereign Wealth Fund project portfolio has been expanded through the injection of 650million US Dollars to strengthen its investment in local infrastructure, power, health, reconstruction of Abuja-Kano road, Lagos – Ibadan Express way, East – West Road (Section V) and Manbilla Hydro- electric project as well as the construction of the 2nd Niger bridge.
On the fight against corruption through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Independent and Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, the president noted that several billions of naira has been recovered as well as forfeiture of various forms of assets from corrupt Nigerians.
On the economy, President Buhari said that his administration is poised to revamp the ailing economy which he inherited in 2015. He revealed that his government executed an expansionary budget and developed the strategic implementation plan SIP in 2016. “For the first time, 30% of the budget was earmarked for capital expenditure which represents an upward review when compared with what was earmarked for capital expenditure in the 2015 budget.
The SIP was followed by the development of a comprehensive medium term plan – the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017 – 2020. The broad strategic objectives of the ERGP the president said were to; restore and sustain economic growth, build a globally competitive economy; and to invest in our people.
“For now, the implementation of the ERGP has started yielding results, the President told the Nigerian people. The National Bureau of Statistics reported that the economy grew by 1.95% in the 1st quarter of 2018 compared to -0.91% in 1st quarter of 2017 and -0.67% in 1st quarter of 2016.
Our foreign reserve has also improved significantly to 47.5 billion USD as at May 2018 as against 29.6 USD in 2015, and the inflationary rate has consistently declined every month since January 2017, the President further disclosed.
On the area of Agriculture, the President said that Nigeria has continued to pursue a strategic food security programme, built around self-sufficiency and minimization of import dependency. As a result, rice importation from other countries has been cut down by over 90% which has a direct impact on foreign reserves.
President Buhari also revealed that the Social Investment Programme, SIP, of his administration was created as a means to graduating citizens from poverty through capacity building, investment, and direct support. The major strategic objective of the SIP is to restore livelihood, economic opportunities and sustenance for the poor across the country.
The Social Investment Programme of this administration include the Home Grown Feeding Programme which has benefitted over8.2 million pupils from 24 States of the Federation, with over 75,000 catering staff engaged under the scheme.
The Conditional Cash Transfer scheme has recorded over 297,000 caregivers that have been trained by 2,495 community facilitators in 21 States. The President further disclosed that less privileged Nigerians are now being paid a monthly stipend of N5000 in nine pilot States of Bauchi, Cross River, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Osun and Oyo in the scheme which he said would soon go round the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
On the Government Enterprise Empowerment programme, President Buhari revealed that his administration has disbursed about 264,269 loans to 4,822 societies in the 36 States and the FCT while another 370,635 are awaiting release of funds.
The N – Power Job Creation Scheme which the President said is targeted at providing jobs for unemployed young graduates has so far recruited over200,000 youths while the next batch of 300,000 have been selected and verified, awaiting deployment across the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. “Furthermore, 20,000 non graduate volunteers have also been selected to kick off the N – Build Scheme in collaboration with the National Automotive Design and Development Council and the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria” he added.
In the area of power generation, the President said that he has received reports from Nigerians from all parts of the country of improved power supply and less dependency on the use of generators. This, he said underscores the effectiveness of the methodical plan of his administration to deliver incremental and uninterrupted power supply to our homes, markets, offices and factories.
So far, the country has achieved 5,222.3 megawatt which represents the highest peak of power generated on the national grid and delivered to customers in December 2017. He was optimistic that with new facilities, repairs and rehabilitations of facilities by government and private investors, generation capacity will exceed 7, 500 megawatts.
Lauding the women folk for their immeasurable contributions to national development and the advance of democracy in the last three years, the president appealed to Nigerians to avoid hatred and intolerance as we celebrate our democratic experience. The President promised to sign into law the “Not too young to run bill” in a few days to come.
However, President Buhari ended his address with a note of admonition to Nigerians, “the coming months will usher us into another season of general elections. Let me use this opportunity to urge us all to conduct yourselves, our wards and our constituencies with the utmost sense of fairness, Justice and peaceful elections, but also a credible and violence free process”.
Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information also believes that President Buhari has fulfilled its promises to the country. Mohammed said that he is proud of the achievements of the Buhari administration.
Speaking to Verbatim reporters on the third anniversary of the Buhari administration, the minister said that the Buhari government has been extremely tolerant, allowing people to air their views without clamping down on them. “I am not aware of anybody that has been persecuted or prosecuted for expressing his or her views except those who run afoul of the laws of the land,”
On the issue of insecurity in the country, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said that what is going on in the country at the moment has nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. The problem Nigeria is passing through at the moment has to do with three things, namely, environment, demography and criminality. Recalling that the Boko Haram insurgency predates the Buhari administration, the minister said the government has done enough to degrade the insurgents. “We are winning the war against Boko Haram in Nigeria and the reason “we are winning the war is because we are not swayed by emotions” he said. The minister also noted that in 2015 when the Buhari government came into office, Boko Haram was active in at least 10 States of the North East, Northwest and North Central.
“Since we came in there has been no incidence of Boko Haram. These are facts and that is why I said people are driven by emotions. Anybody who understands the insurgency will know that suicide bombing and kidnappings are the last pangs for a dying insurgent because they have now been demoted and degraded”
Lai Mohammed also spoke on the alleged selective anti-corruption crusade of the Buhari administration, stressing that the Jonathan administration was very corrupt. According to him between 2010 and 2015, about 15 agencies failed to remit N8.1trillion to the coffers of Federal Government. The National Economic Council, which is led by Alhaji Dankwambo, Governor of Gombe State mandated one of the credible auditing firms in the country, KPMG to audit the accounts of revenue generating agencies from 210 -2015. The company did a fantastic job, and what they found out will shock you, the minister said.
It was discovered that N8.1 trillion was not remitted to the Federal Government. This money could have been used to provide infrastructural development to the Nigerian people had it been that the money was returned. I also disclosed to Nigerians that the huge sum of N1.34 Trillion was stolen by just 55 Nigerians in 2016.
On the alleged looters list, the minister said that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, had told a mammoth crowd at an event in Lagos that in one day, under President Jonathan, 259million dollars were stolen and shared among PDP big wigs. He was challenged to name those involved and I had to release their names.
“In that case, you can’t accuse me of being partisan because I was responding to a challenge thrown by the PDP”.
“In a bid to escape the long aim of the law, most of them resorted to the courts to seek injunction. If they are not afraid, let us go to the courts and prove whether the allegations are true or false.
“In any case, most of them have been reporting to investigating agencies to explain their roles in the massive stealing that took place under the watch of that regime.
On the economy, the minister revealed that the GDP as at 2011 was 5.4 and it dropped to 2.9 in 2015, By the second quarter of 2016, the economy went into full recession.
To tackle the recession, the minister said, the Buhari administration had to put in place some massive and vey ambitions bold economic measures such as the ERGP with a view of reversing the trend.
“Though it has been fragile growth, but we are growing, all the same,” he added.
The Minister was upbeat on the achievement of the Buhari regime in the area of agriculture, we were importing 644 metric tons of rice from Thailand as at 2014, but today, we are only importing only 24 metric tons, he said, He further revealed that before now, there were only four million rice farmers in Nigeria but today the story has changed as there are well over 11.5 million rice farmers across 32 states of Nigeria most of whom have benefitted from the Anchor Borrowers Scheme of the Federal Government.
“We are proud of our scorecard in the key areas we made promises to the masses, either in fighting the insurgency, fighting corruption or revamping the economy, Alhaji Mohammed added.