Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed yesterday said there is no government in the history of Nigeria that has done so much with so little like the Buhari-led administration has done in the last three years.
Mohammed stated this at a press conference in Lagos where he reeled out the achievements of the Buhari administration to mark the 2018 democracry day which is tomorrow May 29th. According to Lai, this administration has fulfilled its campaign promises in the area of infrastructure, security, economy and the anti-corruption war. He said Nigerians are appreciative of the giant strides of the Buhari-led government.
“They know that no government in the history of our country has ever done so much with so little. They know and acknowledge the sincerity, transparency and accountability of the Buhari administration. They know and support the administration’s diversification effort, which is paying off.”he said
Listing some of the achievements of this administration, Lai said power generation has been improved from 2690 megawatts which it inherited to 7,000 megawatts. He added that this administration has moved the country closer to self-sufficiency in rice production and reduced the leakages in government spending through the diligent implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Whistle Blowing Policy.
The Minister added that in the last three years, 2.7 trillion Naira ($9 billion) had been spent on power, road and rail infrastructure, adding that the capital expenditure in the yearly budget had been raised to an unprecedented 30 per cent on the average.
While presenting vital statistics, the minister pointed out that the economy has recorded a 1.95 growth in the first quarter, external reserves have hit $48 billion while inflation has fallen for the 15th consecutive month from 18.7 per cent to 12. 5 per cent. He noted that tax revenue increased to N1.17 trillion this year, following the rise of tax payers to 19 million.
With regards to infrasture, Lai Mohammed said “Road projects are on-going across every state of the country; many of these projects have been abandoned in recent years because of mounting debts owed by the Federal Government to contractors. The Buhari administration issued a 100 billion naira Sukuk Bond in 2017, Nigeria’s first Sovereign Sukuk Bond. Proceeds from that Bond are funding 25 major road projects equally distributed across the six geo-political zones. The administration is upgrading 3,500 km network narrow-gauge railway, with the signing, in April, of the interim phase of a concession agreement between the Government of Nigeria and an International Consortium, led by General Electric (GE). The target of this Interim Phase is that, within the next 12 months, passengers will experience reduced travel time by rail between Lagos and Kano, and for the first time in over a decade, contracted and scheduled freight rail services will be available. More than 70 Ecological Fund projects were awarded and completed by the Buhari administration across the six geo-political zones for flood control, erosion control, bridges and dams, channelisation and desilting.”
The Minister said before the end of 2018, there will be more than 2,000 MW of additional power generation capacity, in addition to the 7,000 MW currently being generated.
The minister noted that the Whistle Blowing Policy introduced by the Federal Ministry of Finance in December 2016 had led to the recovery of N13.8 billion from tax evaders, and N7.8 billion, $378 million and 27,800 million pounds from public officials.
He said N8.1 trillion was discovered to have been under-paid to the Federation Account between 2010 and 2015 by revenue-generating agencies.
Mohammed stressed: “MDAs are remitting more money to the Federation Account. From remitting only N51 million between 2010 and 2015, JAMB went on to remit N7.8 billion in 2017, and it is on course to remit a similar amount in 2018. As at March, the TSA had recorded inflow of N8.9 trillion from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).”
On security, the Minister said that to a large extent, security and normalcy have been restored to the Northeast. He noted that the multi-national Joint Task Force (MNJTF) aimed at combating trans-border crime and the Boko Haram insurgency had been rejuvenated.
“El-Kanemi Warriors Football Club has returned to its home base in Maiduguri in April 2016, two years after relocating to Katsina State because of insurgency. Emirs of Askira and Uba returned home in May 2016, two years after fleeing their palaces on the account of the Boko Haram insurgency. Public primary schools resumed in Borno State on Monday September 26, 2016, after two years of closure. The Maiduguri-Gubio and Maiduguri-Monguno roads reopened in December 2016, after being closed for three years.” he said
The minister also said that more than a million displaced persons had returned to their homes and communities in the Northeast since 2015, adding that more than 13,000 Boko Haram hostages were freed from captivity, including 106 of the abducted Chibok girls and 105 Dapchi girls.
Mohammed, who lamented the incessant herdsmen/farmers clashes in the Northcentral, said the Joint Military Intervention Force (JMIF) was working to restore peace.
He applauded the successful military operations against insecurity, including the Operation Lafiya Dole, Operation Hold Last, Operation Whirl Stroke, Exercise Crocodile Smile 1 and 11, Exercise Obangame, Operation Awatse, and Exercise Python Dance 1 and 11.
“There have also been major arrests of criminals across the country, including Usman Mohammed, aka Khalid Al-Barnawi, leader of the Ansaru Terrorist group and one of the most wanted terrorists in the world, with a US$6m United States bounty on his head. He’s being prosecuted alongside his suspected accomplices. Amodu Omale Salifu, leader of an ISIS affiliate group active in North Central Nigeria, plotting to bomb foreign embassies; Ansaru leaders, Ahmed Momoh and Al-amin Mohammed Jamin, both confirmed associates of a prominent Ansaru kingpin terrorising residents in Kogi and Edo states.” he said