MINISTER of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed said yesterday that no amount of hatred by cynics will erase achievements recorded by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He spoke in Abuja yesterday at the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Third Annual Lecture Series, which also coincides with the commission’s 25th anniversary.
Mohammed said the purveyors of hate speech are deliberately giving the impression that the Buhari Administration has not achieved anything since assuming office in May 2015.
The minister said: “Despite operating with just 45 per cent of the funds available to the immediate past administration, due largely to the fall in oil prices in our mono-product economy and the failure to save for the rainy day, this government has achieved so much more in so short a time.
“To put things in perspective, a country that has consistently produced more oil than Nigeria, despite having about one sixth of the Nigerian population, is today embroiled in the worst economic crisis in its history. There is shortage of food, medicine and everything, and there is hyper-inflation.
“With Nigeria being affected by the same downturn in oil prices, coupled with years of monumental mismanagement of the country’s economy and the mindless and maddening looting of its treasury by rapacious public officials, why is Nigeria not in similar crisis as the country in question? My answer is simple: Because Nigeria has a President like Muhammadu Buhari.”
Reeling out the achievements of the Buhari administration, he said the administration has brought transparency to governance, with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) enabling the government to monitor its revenue and spending; the modified tax system improving tax collection; the agriculture sector producing food in excess of what obtained one year ago, and the government spent N1.3 trillion on capital projects in the 2016 budget, the highest in the country’s history.
“Does anyone remember the scandalous fuel subsidies that failed to deliver fuel to filling stations? What about the fertilizer subsidies that never guaranteed the availability of fertilizer to farmers?
“Today, fuel queues are gone with the phantom fuel subsidies. Also, thanks to the resuscitation of 11 of the country’s moribund fertiliser blending plants, fertiliser is now available to farmers nationwide. In fact, six million bags of fertilisers have been delivered at 30 per cent below the market price, 50,000 jobs created and the N50 billion saved with the stopping of fertiliser subsidy – all because of the revival of those blending plants. Six more are expected to come on stream soon.
“The government is not done. Despite the paucity of funds, the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programmes are being implemented. The N-Power Volunteers Corps created 200,000 jobs in the first batch and 300,000 more will follow shortly.
“The Homegrown School Feeding is spreading from state to state, providing nutritious food for school children and employing thousands of cooks; the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) is providing N5,000 monthly to one million vulnerable and poorest Nigerians; while the Micro-credit scheme will provide over a million Nigerians with small loans at very low rates through the Bank of Industry,” the minister said.
Mohammed said despite the cowardly bombing of soft targets, the Boko Haram insurgency is not in resurgence and that the fight against corruption is unrelenting, with alleged looters forfeiting the proceeds of their ill-gotten wealth, the corrupt being unable to sleep easy while critical infrastructure like roads and railways are being delivered.
On the achievements in the economic sector, he said figures just released by the National Bureau of Statistics revealed a growth of 95 per cent in capital importation/Foreign Direct Investment in the second Quarter of 2017, over the First Quarter and added that year-on-year increased by 43.6 per cent over the Q2 figure in 2016.