NIGERIA @ 57 We’ll accelerate progress to fix our challenges – Buhari
Equally commendable are contributions of the Governors of Ondo, Edo, Delta, Imo, Cross River, Benue, Ogun, Kaduna and Plateau States for their support for the Presidential initiative for palm oil, rubber, cashew, cassava, potatoes and others crops.
With the abundance of rainfall last year and this year, agriculture has enjoyed Divine intervention.
Since December last year, this Administration has produced over 7 million 50Kg bags of fertilizer. Eleven blending plants with a capacity of 2.1 million metric tons have been reactivated. We have saved $150 million in foreign exchange and N60 billion in subsidy. Fertilizer prices have dropped from N13,000 per 50Kg bag to N5,500.
Furthermore, a new presidential initiative is starting with each state of the Federation creating a minimum of 10,000 jobs for unemployed youths, again with the aid of CBN’s development finance initiatives.
Power remains a huge problem. As of September 12th, production of power reached an all - time high of 7,001 Megawatts. Government is increasing its investment, clearing up the operational and financial log jam bedeviling the industry. We hope to reach 10,000 Megawatts by 2020.
Key priorities include better energy mix through solar and Hydro technologies. I am glad to say that after many years of limbo, Mambilla Power Project has taken off.
Elsewhere in the economy the special window created for manufacturers, investors and exporters, foreign exchange requirements has proved very effective. Since April, about $7 billion has come through this window alone. The main effect of these policies is improved confidence in the economy and better investment sentiments.
The country has recorded 7 consecutive months of lower inflation, Naira rate is beginning to stabilize, appreciating from N525 per $1 in February this year to N360 today. Broad-based economic growth is leading us out of recession.
Furthermore, in order to stabilize the polity, the Federal Government gave additional support to states in the form of: · State Excess Crude Account loans, Budget Support Facility, Stabilization Fund Release to state and local government as follows: · N200 billion in 2015 · N441 billion in 2016 · N1 trillion in 2017 Altogether totaling trillion.
This was done to enable states to pay outstanding salaries, pensions and small business suppliers who had · · N1.642 been all but crippled over the years.
In addition, the Government’s current N500 billion Special Intervention Programme is targeting groups through; · Home Grown School Feeding Programme, N-Power Job creation to provide loans to small-scale traders and artisans, · Conditional Cash Transfer, · Family Homes Fund and · Social Housing Scheme. CORRUPTION Fellow Nigerians, We are fully aware that fighting corruption was never going to be a straightforward task. We expected corrupt elements to use any weapon to fight back, mainly judicial obstruction and political diversion. But we are determined to eradicate corruption from our body politic. In this fight, the Government has: · Empowered teams of prosecutors, Assembled databases, Accelerated the recovery of stolen funds. The Administration’s institutional reforms include: · Enforcing Treasury Single Account, Whistle-Blowers Policy, Integrated Payroll Personnel and Information System. We have signed multi-lateral cooperation agreements on criminal matters with friendly countries. There are signs of increasing cooperation from the Judiciary. Recently the Chief Justice of the Federation directed Heads of all our Courts of first instance and Appeal to accelerate hearings of corruption cases and dismiss any judicial officers found to have been compromised.
Justice Salami has just been appointed to chair the Judiciary’s anti-graft committee. Government expects a lot from this Committee.
I commend the National Assembly for refocusing on its oversight committees. They should, in addition, ensure swift passage of enabling corruption laws. But fighting corruption is a bottom to top operation. I call on all Nigerians to combat corruption at every turn. By not asking for and refusing to accept a bribe, by reporting unethical practices or by blowing a whistle, together we can beat corruption. The government for its part will work for accountability at all levels - Federal, State and Local Governments. CHANGE will then be real.
As we enter the second half of our term of office, we intend to accelerate progress and intensify our resolve to fix the country’s challenges and problems.
Thank you and a happy holiday to all of you.
God bless our country · · · · · detailed new