Buhari Insists His Administration Has Recorded Landmark Achievements

Yemisi Izuora

President Muhammadu Buhari has maintained that his Administration has recorded
significant verifiable achievements contrary to the
opposition’s statement that the Administration is running on
propaganda and lies.

The President, who was represented by the Minister of Information and
Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the assertion at the opening of the
two-day Nigeria Governors’ Forum Conference for Media Handlers of
States’ Chief Executives in Abuja on Monday.

”For our Administration, our achievements are there for all to see.
We are delivering in the broad areas that formed the plank of our
policies: Security, fight against corruption and the economy, which
includes the massive provision of infrastructure, ease of doing
business and agriculture, just to mention a few,” he said.

Providing facts and figures, the President listed the Administration’s
achievements in ending subsidy and yet ensuring the availability of
petroleum products; in raising power generation, transmission and
distribution, in the massive provision of infrastructure; in tackling
insecurity and making a success of the agriculture revolution, among
others.

”Those who accused this Administration of ‘propaganda and lies’ in
the fuel supply sector, for example, did not tell Nigerians that
whereas they paid between 800 billion and 1.3 trillion Naira as
‘subsidy’ yearly in their time, without making the products available
even at regulated prices, this Administration is not paying any
subsidy, yet all products are currently available at competitive
prices and fuel queues are now history. In their time, they paid
subsidy of 3.7 billion Naira daily in 2011; 2.2 billion Naira daily in
2012 and 2013, and 2.5 billion Naira daily in 2014, all for products
that were never available.

”Those who accused this government of ‘propaganda and lies’ also said
we have not achieved anything in the power sector. Comment is free,
facts are sacred, as they say. When this Administration assumed office
on 29 May 2015, available power on the grid totalled 2,690MW,
transmission capacity was around 5,000MW and distribution capacity was
4,000MW.

”As at 4 September 2017, the available power that can be put on the
grid was 6,619MW; the transmission capacity was simulated at 6,700 MW
(up from 5,000 MW in 2015) but the distribution capacity was 4,600 MW,
which was what was put on the grid. On September 12, 2017, production
of power reached an all-time level of 7,001MW,” he said

President Buhari said it is an irony that those who presided over a
budget of 18 billion Naira for roads, 5 billion Naira for
power and 1.8 billion Naira for Housing in 2015 are now accusing those
who spent 198.25 billion Naira on roads, 91.2
billion Naira on power and 71.559 billion Naira on housing in the
following year of non-achievement?

”Because of the increased spending in these areas, the massive debts
owed to contractors are being settled so they can recall workers who
were laid off and re-open closed work sites. As a matter of fact,
during the implementation of
the 2016 budget, we paid 103 construction companies executing 192
projects, and they, in turn, employed 17,749 people directly and
52,000 people indirectly in works.

”So far this year, 47.169 billion Naira has been paid to 62
contractors working on 149 projects to continue work on roads and
bridges and keep people at work. Similar payments are being made to
supervising consultants and to contractors in Housing and Power
Sectors of the Ministry,” he said.

The President also said highlighted the achievements that have been
recorded by his Administration in the area of the Economy, wondering
whether it is ‘propaganda and lies’ that headline Inflation has now
fallen for the eighth consecutive month; that foreign exchange
reserves are up to $32 billion, from $24 billion a year ago: that oil
production is at nearly 2 million barrels per day and that Home-grown
School Feeding Programme now being implemented in 17 States is
benefiting more than 3 million public primary school children and more
than 30,000 cooks across 20,000 schools.

He said close to 200,000 youths are now benefiting from the N-Power
Programme, which recruits unemployed graduates to work as teachers,
agricultural extension workers, and health extension workers; that the
Government Enterprise & Empowerment Programme (GEEP), which provides
micro-credit to farmers, traders, and artisans,
now has in excess of 1 million beneficiaries, with women accounting
for 56% of that number, and that at about $1.8 billion, the capital
inflows in the second quarter of 2017 were almost double the $908
million in the first quarter.

”If our achievements are based on ‘propaganda and lies’, as they
claim, why is our agricultural revolution achieving so much success:
We have commissioned the 120,000 MT per annum WACOT Rice Mill in
Argungu, Kebbi State. We have commissioned the 60,000 MT per annum Edo
State Fertilizer Company Limited. What about the commissioning of
OLAM’s 750,000 MT per annum Integrated Poultry Facility in Kaduna
State? Do you know that 15 moribund Fertilizer Blending Plants have
now been revived and in operation across Nigeria, under the
Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, creating 50,000 direct jobs and
70,000 indirect jobs?” the President asked.

He said when the Administration assumed office in 2015, Boko Haram was
active in at least 10 states, could stroll into Abuja at a time and
target of their own choosing to cause maximum havoc, in addition to
holding territories and collecting taxes.

”Today, Boko Haram has been so degraded that it lacks the capacity to
carry out any organized attack, while also increasingly losing the
capacity to even attack soft targets. Importantly, Boko Haram no
longer holds any
territory. The same vigour is being used to address the
herdsmen-farmers’ clash, kidnapping for ransom and other crimes,” the
President said.

He said the biggest challenge facing government information managers
is how to project the achievements of their principals against the
background of worsening cases of disinformation and fake news, adding
that the best way to tackle the problem is to remain focused, refuse
to be distracted or intimidated and also to use facts and figures to
counter the purveyors of disinformation and fake news.

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