NIGERIA @ 57 We’ll ac­cel­er­ate progress to fix our chal­lenges – Buhari

Sunday Trust - - BIG STORY -

rev­o­lu­tions.

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

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