Info minister says Nigeria on the path to sustainable growth

PMB

Nigeria now has a more focused and patriotic leadership committed to transforming the lives of Nigerians and returning the country to a place of pride in the comity of nations.

Lai Muhammed

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister for Information and Culture, made the remarks while briefing newsmen on the three years of stewardship of the Buhari administration.

The country is thus rising again like a phoenix from the ashes of years of massive looting of the national treasury, misgovernance and fallen oil prices.

Under the able, focused and patriotic leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, this Administration has recorded many firsts in so short a time, achievements that are beginning to impact positively on the lives of Nigerians, said the Minister.

Today, the country is making strong and steady progress in the three priority areas set for the nation, which are Economy, Security and the Fight against corruption.

The  Economy

The Economy is back on the path of growth, after the recession of 2016-17. It grew 1.95 percent in the first quarter of 2018 while consistent growth was achieved in the priority sectors of Agriculture and Solid Minerals throughout the recession.

Inflation has fallen for fifteen consecutive months, from 18.7 per cent to12.5 per cent as of April 2018 and Nigeria’s External Reserves stood at $48 billion, the highest in five years, and more than double the $23 billion of the previous
government.

Also, the country moved up 24 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings in 2017 and earned a place on the list of ten Most Improved Economies.

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Infrastructure

The Buhari Administration has demonstrated a single-minded commitment to upgrading and developing Nigeria’s Transport, Power and Health Infrastructure.

In May 2018, the Federal Government launched the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), under the management of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority.

The PIDF is kicking off with seed funding of US$1.3 billion, as such funding for critical projects will no longer be a problem.

In the same vein, road projects are ongoing across every State of the country; many of these projects had been abandoned in recent years because of mounting debts owed by the Federal Government to contractors.

The government has also commenced the upgrade of Nigeria’s 3,500 km narrow-gauge railway network, with the signing, in April 2018, of the interim phase of a concession agreement between the Government of Nigeria and an International Consortium led by General Electric (GE).

The target of this Interim Phase is that within the next twelve months, passengers will experience reduced travel time by rail between Lagos and Kano, and, for the first time in over a decade, contracted and scheduled freight rail services will be available.

The construction of the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Rail has also started.

Fight Against Corruption

The Whistleblowing Policy introduced by the Ministry of Finance in December 2016 has since yielded the many recoveries including N13.8 billion from tax evaders, N7.8 billion, $378 million, £27,800 in recoveries from public officials targeted by whistleblowers.

Also, N8.1 trillion was discovered to have been underpaid to the Federation Account between 2010 and 2015 by 15 revenue-generating agencies.

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The Creation of Efficiency Unit (EU) to spearhead the efficient use of government resources, and ensure the reduction in recurrent expenditure has resulted in N17 billion in savings on travel, sitting allowances and souvenirs.

Security

To a large extent, security and normalcy have been restored to the North-East.

The Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), aimed at combating trans-border crime and the Boko Haram insurgency, has been rejuvenated.

In the North Central, where there have been incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers, the government has deployed a Joint Military Intervention Force (JMIF), comprising Regular and Special Forces personnel from the Army, Air Force and Navy, and working in collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State
Security (DSS), and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC).

While acknowledging that the journey to success is still far, the Minister assured Nigerians that the government of president Muhammadu Buhari remains committed to a secure, prosperous and united Nigeria.

By Say Ramoni

 

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