Nigeria: We Have Met Yearnings Of Nigerians In 7 Years

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday declared open the last ministerial performance review retreat of his administration, saying high-impact projects have been implemented across the country to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.

Speaking at the retreat organised to evaluate the level of progress made in the implementation of the Nine Priority Agenda of his administration, the president highlighted remarkable progress made in the areas of agriculture, economy, infrastructure, security, health, anti-corruption, among others.

The president told participants and guests at the retreat, including the keynote speaker and immediate past President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, that over 3,800km of roads have been constructed across the country, while 38 new aircraft were acquired for the Nigerian Air Force to boost the fight against insurgency.

He also added that 38.7 million Nigerians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, representing 35 per cent of the total eligible population target for vaccination.

On infrastructure, the president said, “In recognition of the importance of critical infrastructure in economic development and the quest of this Administration to leave a lasting legacy, we have implemented high-impact projects across the length and breadth of the country that meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.

“Some of the notable achievements include the completion of 326km Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line and railway ancillary facilities; the completion of over 156.5km Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway modernization project with extension to Lagos Port, Apapa.

“On road projects, this Administration has constructed 408Km of roads; 2,499Km of SUKUK roads and maintenance of 15,961Km of roads across the Country.

“Key among these projects are the construction of 1.9km 2nd Niger Bridge linking Anambra and Delta States with 10.30km approach road; rehabilitation, construction and expansion of Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan dual carriageway; the ongoing rehabilitation of Abuja-Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Road, among others.”

Stressing that the federal government under his watch has sustained commitment to infrastructural development in the past seven years, Buhari said over 941km of completed SUKUK road projects nationwide have been handed over.

He added that the federal government has embarked on the reconstruction of 21 selected federal roads, totaling 1,804.6km, under the Road Infrastructure Development & Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Policy.

According to him, the roads, which are funded by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, are in addition to similar existing collaboration with Messrs Dangote Industries Limited and other corporate organisations to improve the stock of the country’s road infrastructure.

On aviation, the president assured that the establishment of a national carrier for Nigeria is at 91 percent completion, and is expected to commence flight operations before the end of this year.

He said the feat is being boosted with the certification of Lagos and Abuja International Airports by the International Civil Aviation Organization, while Kano and Port Harcourt Airports are undergoing similar certification processes.

On the economy, the President restated that the country witnessed seven consecutive quarters of growth, after negative growth rates recorded in the 2nd and 3rd Quarters of 2020.

He noted: “The GDP grew by 3.54% (year-on-year) in real terms in the 2nd Quarter of 2022. This growth rate represents a sustained positive economic performance, especially for the Non-Oil GDP which fell by 4.77% in Q2 2022 against Oil GDP that grew by -11.77%.

“Most sectors of the economy recorded positive growth which reflects the effective implementation of the economic sustainability measures introduced by this Administration.”

On the Communications & Digital Economy Sector, the president noted that giant strides have been made through broadband coverage which currently stands at 44.32%, reinforced by 77.52% 4G coverage with the establishment of 36,751 4G base stations nationwide.

Similarly, the president declared that the power sector has remained a critical priority for the administration, adding that the implementation of a ‘Willing Buyer-Willing Seller’ policy introduced by the federal government has opened up opportunities for increased delivery of electricity to underserved homes and industries.

“We are also executing a number of critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme, which will result in achieving the national goal of improved power supply by 2025.

“It is important to state that the partnership between the Federal Government of Nigeria and German Siemens AG through the Presidential Power Initiative to increase electricity generation to 25,000 Megawatts (MW) in six years is on course, as the first batch of the transformers has arrived Nigeria already,” he stated.

On the oil and gas sector, the president recalled that on August 16, 2021, he signed the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) into law, providing a legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, as well as the development of host communities and related matters.

He noted that to achieve the objectives of the PIA, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation was unbundled while the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream & Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority were established.

On efforts towards strengthening national security, the president said his administration has substantially invested in arms, weapons and other critical military hardware as well as continuous training for the Armed Forces.

His words: “The Nigerian Air Force has acquired 38 brand-new aircraft and is expecting another batch of 36 new ones, while the Nigerian Navy has been equipped with new platforms, sophisticated riverine, Rigid-Hull Inflatable, Seaward Defence, Whaler & Fast Attack Boats as well as Helicopters and Capital Ships.

“To boost the number of our Police personnel, 20,000 policemen have been recruited, trained, fully integrated and deployed in 2020 and 2021. This exercise has strengthened our community policing strategy which is enshrined in the Police Act, 2020.”

On the fight against corruption, Buhari promised that the administration would continue to review and prosecute high-profile corruption cases and ensure speedy completion.

On Social Investment Programmes, the president said 9,990,862 pupils are being fed through the School Feeding Programme, which employs 128,531 cooks in local communities.

He stated: “Following the passage of the National Health Act in 2014, this Administration began the inclusion of the 1% minimum portion of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to cater for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).