By Eric Morgan
Buhari administration identified the implosion and civil unrest that will happen with distressed 33 states owing salaries. He approved bailout funds to the state to help them pay salaries and pension arrears. For two years, the states have been given special funds and Paris Club refund in excess of N2trillion.
The administration paid N600b inherited fuel subsidy bill. Paid N60b inherited fertilizer subsidy bill. Paid inherited salaries and pension arrears of Federal workers. Started paying contractors that have not been paid since 2013 on Federal projects especially road construction across the country.
To diversify the economy away from crude oil, President Buhari insisted Nigeria must produce locally things we can produce easily and he anchored this on Agriculture and Solid Minerals. The two sectors have consistently grown in contribution to GDP in the last two years according to NBS quarterly reports.
Nigeria has cut import bill by more than 50 per cent on rice and ramping up production in wheat and other produce. The FG through CBN banned 41 items from accessing forex from official Windows. This was mercilessly criticized by the ‘experts’ but the Buhari administration is winning the argument today with increased local production and industrial capacity utilisation by factories/manufacturers sourcing raw materials locally.
With the rice and wheat success in Kebbi and other states especially in the north, private capital is flowing into the processing sector of the agriculture value chain. Wacot just opened N10b Rice Mill, Dangote opened Tomatoe Paste Factory in Kano, Olam will commission N20billion Livestock Feed and Chicken Hatchery Plant in Kaduna in September among other investors.
Buhari went to Morocco and signed a deal on Phosphate and Gas pipeline between Nigeria and the North Africa nation. The phosphate is a major component for fertilizer production. With the deal the FG working with the Sovereign Wealth Fund had reactivated 11 moribund fertilizer Blending Plants in Nigeria in the last 1 year that have created 50,000 jobs and producing 1.3metric tonnes of fertilizer. Today the N50b annual fertilizer subsidy is gone while a bag of fertilizer sells for N5,500 which is 30 per cent cheaper than what it used to sell while the FG no longer pay N6000 subsidy per bag for farmers. Six more dead Fertilizer Blending Plants will come back to life before end of the year and Nigeria will be in a position to start exporting fertilizer.
Segun Adeniyi, Chairman Editorial Board of Thisday and a Buhari arch-critic couldn’t hide his praise in his recent Thisday Backpage Column where he wrote that a revolution is happening in Nigeria’s agricultural sector under Buhari with millions of Nigerians now embracing farming and with increased local production of fertilizer from the 11 revamped Blending Plants.
On infrastructure, the government under Buhari is spending more money to revive abandoned projects – roads, power, rail, pipelines, housing etc. The Lagos-Ibadan rail project has started. The administration has negotiated foreign loan that will connect the entire country by rail network from Lagos to Calabar and Port Harcourt to Kano. The Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri standard Guage rail line that had been abandoned since 1987 has been reactivated and FG already set June 2018 as date when it will be commissioned.
Despite acute low revenue, the Buhari administration is saving more money into the ECA and boosting Foreign Reserve. The Foreign Reserve went up by over $500million by CBN records last week. To further stimulate the economy the administration recently approved N2trillion Bond to pay local contractors who have been owed by FG for 10years. A committee is working to verify all debts to contractors already.
The same government for the first time in our recent history is committed to improving the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria and National Productivity with Executive Orders already yielding positive results with some MDAs such as Immigration, Customs, FRSC, FIRS, CAC, NPA etc.
If previous administrations had done what Buhari administration is doing now our development trajectory as a country would have been far better than we currently have.
The President is confronting corruption squarely. The administration is recovering billions of naira, hundreds of Millions in dollars in cash and real estate never done before. He confronted corruption in the Armed Forces and touched serving and retired Generals. He confronted corruption in the Judiciary and broke the unwritten code of Judicial untouchables. It is only a Buhari without a moral and corruption baggage that could do these.
I should think these are what those who genuinely campaigned and voted for Buhari asked for and wanted him to do.
The local and global inventors’ confidence in the economy is at an all time high because of the global approval rating of the President and the fight against corruption. Market Capitalisation at the Stock Exchange was at N13trilion last, week breaking 3 years record. Nigeria just reclaimed the 3rd position as the destination for FDIs in Africa with $4.6billion inflow in 2016 following Angola and Egypt after 5years year on year decline from 2010-2015 under Jonathan administration. The government that had unprecedented oil revenue and a super Coordinating Minister of the Economy.
All these happening in two years under an administration that was challenged with low revenue yet the administration is still investing in social intervention programs- School Feeding for primary school pupils which has taken off in 19 states, NPower which has employed over 200,000 jobless young people who are now adding value to the communities where they work and to themselves.
I recognize missed steps and areas where things should have been done better especially proper coordination at governmental and inter-agencies levels. These are not reasons to be disillusioned or regret voting out a government that wrecked Nigeria.
At this point i can only pray and wish President Buhari good health.”