Jonathan’s next four years: My vision for a Nigeria that works for all (2)
Modernize Agriculture for Economic Diversification and Wealth Creation
IN the next four years, we will build on the successes to date and turn Nigeria into a global power house in food and agriculture. Nigeria will become a net exporter of food and other economic crops, livestock and fisheries, as well as ensure sustainable climate adaptation and green growth. We will put greater emphasis on the development of value-added products and expand Nigeria’s competitiveness in food and agricultural value chains.
My administration’s principal programmes in agriculture have focused on making Nigeria self-sufficient in food production, creating wealth and jobs and developing agricultural value chains towards processing and agro-industrialisation. To achieve these goals, we have adopted a government-enabled private sector led approach, pursued policies and reforms that provide the enabling environment for private sector investments and drive market-driven systems. Private sector investment commitments in the agricultural sector expanded by $5.6 billion between 2011 and 2014.
We ended decades of corruption in the fertilizer and seed sectors and ended government monopoly over direct procurement and distribution of farm inputs. We developed the e-wallet system that allows farmers to receive their farm inputs via electronic vouchers on their mobile phones, a programme which has reached over 15 million farmers nationwide. Nigeria has achieved close to 85 per cent of national self-sufficiency in rice paddy production. The number of integrated rice mills expanded from one in 2011 to 24 by 2014. National food production expanded by an additional 21 million metric tons between 2011 and 2014. The food import bill declined from N1.3 trillion in 2011 to N635 billion by 2014.
In the next four years, my government shall:
Ensure Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in rice production. Nigeria will become a net exporter of rice.
Scale up the e-wallet scheme to reach millions more of farmers and legislate the Growth Enhancement Scheme to farmers across the country.
Drive the development of a world-class environment for agro-processing, revive rural economies, through the development of staple crop processing zones across the country, and drive mechanization of agriculture via the establishment of 1,200 agricultural equipment hiring centres across the country.
Establish marketing corporations for major food and cash crops to stabilize prices and assure market access to farmers, and develop 750,000 youths and women entrepreneurs in the agriculture sector.
Dry season farming will be further expanded for rice, horticulture and wheat, especially in the northeast and northwest. Nigeria will achieve 50 per cent self-sufficiency in wheat production.
Accelerate investments in production and processing of major cash crops such as cocoa, oil palm, cotton, rubber and cashew for global competitiveness. Nigeria will achieve self-sufficiency in palm oil.
Establish a world-class agricultural commodity exchange to support modern agricultural marketing and trade. In addition, expand access to affordable long-term finance through the Fund for Financing Agriculture in Nigeria (FAFIN) and partial privatization of the Bank of Agriculture, and ensure that 15 million farmers get crop insurance to improve adaptation to climate change.
Oil and Gas as an enabler for Nigeria’s Future Prosperity
Let me state categorically that we will end the importation of petroleum products in the next four years, and become a next exporter of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). We will conclude the structural changes required to make progress in the sector as contained in the Petroleum Industry Bill by working with the National Assembly to pass it and ensure its effective implementation. Under my watch, we will end gas flaring and consolidate on the progress made on local content law to ensure that Nigerians are full participants and not mere middlemen in the oil and gas businesses in the country.
Prior to 2010, indigenous participation in economic activities, particularly oil and gas, was very limited. This was due to low levels of local capacity and competencies. To fundamentally change the landscape and facilitate indigenous participation, the Local Content Act was signed into law. By its requirements regarding building local capacity, the Act has enabled and increased indigenous participation in the oil and gas industry, created linkages to other sectors of the national economy, and ultimately boosted industry contributions to GDP growth. This reform has yielded benefits across board with increased indigenous participation in the oil and gas leading to the establishment of the Ebok terminal.
In the next four years, we will achieve three critical things:
The oil and gas sector will become more open through the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). We will work with the National Assembly to ensure the passage and effective implementation of the PIB, such as the commercialization of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
We will work with the private sector to complete all existing downstream refinery projects in the country. By 2017, Nigeria will end the importation of refined petroleum products. We will complete all the gas projects we have started to improve gas distribution to the power sector and industry, and expand domestic gas use.
We will continue to deepen and expand our policies to encourage value addition in the oil and gas industry and provide technical linkages between it and other sectors of the Nigerian economy. Nigerians will become genuine players in oil, gas and petrochemicals through expanded indigenous participation.
We are building oil and gas industrial parks to accelerate value addition to the country’s God given natural resources. These parks will enhance the production of petrochemical and allied products and help create additional industrial jobs in the country.
Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises
MSMES are a critical part of our economic foundation. They create two out of every three jobs, and account for over 45 per cent of our GDP. As of 2010, we estimated that Nigeria had 17 million MSMES, employing over 32 million people. These businesses contribute to Nigeria’s economic progress through value addition, processing, retail and wholesale trade and job creation. Our plan will continue to boost entrepreneurship, accelerate inclusive growth, and we will continue to support small businesses.
In the past four years, this administration launched the National Enterprises Development Programme (NEDEP), which is the most comprehensive programme ever in support of MSMES. NEDEP addresses the major barriers faced by MSMEs – access to finance, access to markets and customers, access to technology and equipment, amongst others. We have unlocked over NGN 220 Billion for MSMES in conjunction with the CBN; we commenced a NGN 35 billion national MSME intervention with the World Bank under the Growth and Employment Programme.
To better reach MSMES, we have worked tirelessly to make them more formal by creating over 55,000 MSME cooperatives across the country, this gives us direct access to at least 900,000 Nigerians whom have been operating under the radar. Government institutional support for MSMES has also been reorganized – the Small And Medium Enterprise Development Authority Of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has been decentralized so it is now present in every state of Nigeria.
Over the next four years, we will accelerate our support for Nigeria’s MSMES:
Our MSMES financing system will mobilize, coordinate, and channel at least NGN 1 trillion from various sources towards the MSME sector over a four year period – this includes commercial bank funds, venture capital, development financing, international support, and other sources of financing.
We will expand and capitalize development financing in Nigeria, including – the Bank of industry (BoI) and Bank of Agriculture (BOA). We are establishing the Development Bank of Nigeria to address the problem of access to long-term finance.
We will accelerate the development of MSME clusters across the country, reduce cost of operating small businesses across the country in Nigeria – with cheap energy and common facilities.
We will open up more markets for MSMES, by expanding their access to markets and customers through local content policies, so Nigerian goods and services are consumed.
Manufacturing and Industrialisation
No nation can move from a poor to a rich nation, without having a vibrant industrial sector, and in modern times, an advanced services sector. My vision is to triple the contribution of manufacturing to GDP from about 6.7 per cent to 15 per cent by the year 2018.
Manufacturing and services are essential to building a modern economy – they are essential to diversify national income, diversify exports, substitute imports, and boost jobs. In the next four years, manufacturing will be a major driver of growth in our economy.
In 2011, industrial development in Nigeria did not have any strategic plan. There was no agenda to deliberately promote manufacturing and services in the country. We therefore launched the execution of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), which is the most strategic, integrated, and all-inclusive industrial development plan Nigeria has ever had. With this programme, the manufacturing sector, which had struggled for years, grew at 22 per cent in 2013, and now contributes over 13 per cent of formal sector jobs. We have more than doubled cement production capacity in the country from 16.9 million tons to 39.5 million tons.
We commenced a new policy on textiles, a sector which had remained dead for years, but because of our efforts, it now receives at least N18 billion in investments a year and return the sector to its past glory. We started an auto industry development programme that has attracted four international car companies into the country, and 19 more on the way. In sugar, we are also well advanced, attracting over NGN500 billion in investments. In just four years, we have increased the number of steel mills in the country from five to 21; and have commenced the process of getting investors to produce steel from iron ore. We have lined up over $14 billion of investments into integrated petrochemical and fertilizer complexes and for the first time ever, real verifiable private sector-led projects are under construction which will stop importation of all petroleum products into Nigeria by 2018.
In the next four years, we shall accomplish the following:
The Development Bank of Nigeria will address the problem of access to medium to long-term finance for manufacturing activities.
In order to accelerate the diversification of our economy, we will boost our non-oil export earnings from five per cent in 2014 to 15 per cent of total exports in 2018.
We will finalize sectoral reforms of other industrial sectors, to cut down unnecessary imports and use these to boost employment – these sectors include leather, palm oil processing, cocoa value chain, aluminum, consumer goods, industrial scale housing supply, rubber products and others.
Information and Communication Technology as catalyst for economic growth and Job Creation
Nigeria must be in the vanguard of the new information age. We are already well positioned to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by information and communication technologies to grow and diversify our economy. We shall broaden our ICT infrastructure base and build capacity to make our economy competitive and create jobs for our youths.
In 2011, we created the Ministry of Communication Technology to focus our efforts towards leveraging ICTs for our development and job creation. The ministry, in the last four years, has created the enabling environment required for rapid development of our ICT sector. Our National ICT policy, the National Broadcast Strategy and Roadmap, and the Nigerian content in ICT guidelines are three groundbreaking policy documents that clearly articulate how Nigeria will be positioned to participate fully and competitively in our increasingly digital world. Our focus on this sector has resulted in Internet access increasing from 29 per cent in 2011 to over 50 per cent at the end of 2014. In the last four years, Nigeria has emerged as one of the fastest growing e-commerce sectors in the world and an extremely attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI).
In the next four years, my government will capitalize on the successes and shall do the following:
We will achieve a 100 per cent voice penetration and 80 per cent of our population will have access to the Internet, bringing the full benefits of ICTs to a significant proportion of the Nigeria populace.
Implement our national e-government strategy to deliver accountability, transparency and efficiency in governance and bringing government services closer and more conveniently to our citizens.
Continue to actively facilitate innovative, entrepreneurship and job creation in the ICT sector through the establishment of IT incubations, IT accelerators, IT Parks, and venture capital funds.
Increase the domestic value added in the ICT sector through the implementation of policies and regulation that support the local manufacture of digital devices and encourage our youth to establish relevant businesses.
Continue to provide a consistent and stable regulatory and policy environment to encourage investments in all segments of the sector and support the participation of local companies in all segments of this strategic sector.
Solid Minerals as an alternative export revenue earner
We are endowed with mineral wealth across the length and breadth of the country. There are over 34 known solid minerals in commercial quantities spread over 450 locations across the country. Indeed, every local government has one mineral or another in different levels of commercial quantities. As part of our diversification and job creation efforts, my administration will maximize the full exploitation of our solid mineral wealth. In the next four years, we will double the contributions of solid minerals to our GDP.
My vision for the Solid Mineral sector is to sustainably exploit them for the benefits of all Nigerians. I will ensure that the sector is well integrated with our industrial sector and that it provides the requisite raw material inputs, and playing a significant role in our industrialization efforts at providing jobs to millions of Nigerians with wide range of skills.
Our commitment to the solid mineral sector is based on the fact it provides the requisite raw material inputs, and playing a significant role in our industrialization efforts at providing jobs to million of Nigerians with wide range of skills.
Our commitment to the solid mineral sector is based on the fact it is a key instrument for job and wealth creation, poverty reduction, as well as a means of economic diversification not only for our GDP but also for government revenue. I see a sector that currently contributes only about 0.29 per cent of our GDP, contributing two per cent by the year 2018, and increasing exponentially thereafter. I see a sector where the potential for job and wealth creation is optimally harnessed and realized for the welfare of our citizens.
In the next four years, my government shall accomplish the following:
We will encourage small-scale commercial exploitation of our solid minerals. Development work on exploitation of bitumen and coal in commercial quantities is already at an advanced stage.
Continue to make the Solid Minerals sector a major priority area for accelerating economic diversification, increasing government revenues, and enhancing job creation.
We will continue to expand our coal to power initiative.
We will continue to pursue the inter-sectoral linkages as enshrined in our Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) so that solid minerals are exported processed, rather than raw as the case has been. For instance, we will intensify the development of the steel sector for the purpose of economic development, especially in the Northern part of the country.
We will aggressively pursue the implementation of our newly developed fiscal regime in order to encourage large-scale investment in exploration and mining of solid minerals across the country.
We will continue to implement the phased programmes of the Roadmap for the Development of the Minerals and Metals Sector.
Building Decent and Affordable Homes for Nigerians
Our contribution recognizes housing as a basic human right. Today, however, not all Nigerians have access to decent affordable houses. My administration is determined to change that. In the next four years, working in partnership with the private sector, we will add a million decent affordable homes to the national stock of housing units.
For many years, the dream of home ownership has eluded many Nigerians, primarily, due to limited access to mortgages. Given the extensive capacity for the housing sector to contribute immensely to job creation in Nigeria, my administration launched the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) in January 2014 to kick-start a housing revolution in Nigeria.
The NMRC will serve as a re-financing institution to provide our mortgage lending banks with increased access to liquidity and long-term funds so that many more Nigerians can access affordable mortgages repayable over 15 to 20 years instead of the current 5 to 7 years mortgage at high interest rates. The NMRC is also working with 18 state governments, starting with Lagos and the FCT, to review existing titling and property registration processes with a view to fast tracking these and reducing associated costs from an average of 16 per cent to three per cent. Following the activities of the NMRC, the value of Nigeria’s mortgage sector is expected to increase from the current N241 billion to N861 billion by 2021. This will expand job opportunities in the sector given that for every house built, it creates 10 direct and indirect jobs.
In the next four years, we shall accomplish the following in the housing sector.
In partnership with the private sector through the activities of the NMRC, the FMBN and the NHF, we will add one million decent and affordable homes to the national housing stock.
We will complete the work we have started on land tenure in Nigeria. When completed, the new arrangement will make it easier for change in ownership titles, and improve long access to long-term finance.
Ensuring a Sustainable Environment
Sustainable environment is critical to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change to our present and future economic development. The era of promoting and advancing economic activities, especially in the oil and gas sector, without consideration for its implications on the environment is over. We are building the great green wall across affected 11 Northern states to check the southward movement of the Sahara desert. We are also addressing the effects of erosion, especially in the South East and Lagos shorelines. We will do all that is humanly possible to protect Nigeria’s environment and mitigate climate change for the present and for the future generations.
In my first administration, environmental issues and considerations were not simply after thoughts. Environmental issues are now an integral part of our national economic, social and political development. We are developing and implementing measures across air pollution, erosion and flooding, land degradation, and desertification and forest management in order to ensure our environment is protected, natural resources are conserved, and the promotion of sustainable development.
In order to continue to protect the environment and prevent environmental disasters, my government shall continue to:
Focus on full implementation of the Great Green Wall project (GGW), as well as continuing to work with state governments of Bauchi, Gombe, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Yobe, and Borno, to protect our country from desert encroachment.
Implement the automated early warning system into designated rivers and carry out the installation of drought early warning system in frontline states.
Accelerate the erosion mitigation measures in the most affected states in the federation.
Employ the latest technologies to combat the negative impacts of environmental change and avoid environmental disasters.
Promote sustainable development that takes into account the challenges of climate change.
Infrastructure as an enabler for Nigeria’s economic development
While the Nigerian economy has enjoyed a good health trajectory in the last decade, our future growth and prosperity depend largely on plugging existing infrastructure gaps. If we meet our infrastructure challenges across transport, energy and communications, it will be a major boost to growth, international trade and creation of jobs. In the next four years, we will implement in detail the first phase of the Nigerian infrastructure master plan, vigorously pursue PPP arrangements where possible, and establish the road fund to expand the resources available for infrastructure expenditure. My administration will continue to ensure that critical challenges across energy, transport, and communications are addressed.
Infrastructural deficit has been a limiting factor to our national development over the years. As an administration, we believe that sound infrastructure, wealth creation, and long term economic growth are mutually reinforcing. In the last four years, we have placed a premium on delivering quality infrastructure across the country, thereby creating an enabling environment for investment and growth. We have developed the National Integrated Infrastructure and Industrial Master Plan, which articulates in detail the long-term infrastructure requirements of the Nigerian economy. We will accelerate work on power, roads, rail and aviation.
Access to Power for All Nigerians
Having laid the required foundation by liberalizing the power sector, transferring our power assets to the private sector, Nigeria will have stable electricity, generating and transmitting over 20,000 MW in the next four years.
The completion of the power sector reforms has set the required foundation for the development of the power sector as a major catalyst for Nigeria’s future economic growth and prosperity. In the last four years, we have completed the power sector reforms, established the regulatory framework and institution in Nigeria Electric Regulatory Commission (NERC). We also established the bulk trader – NBET – to act between the Gencos and Discos, settle all legacy debts, and started the process of privatizing the remainder of the generating companies under the Niger Delta Power Holding Company.
I am aware Nigerians ask daily when will there be an uninterrupted power supply. In the past years, we have been working hard to overcome this challenge. The privatization process will ease two of the critical factors. First, the privatization process now allows for the required injection of investment in the sector by the private sector. Second, power has one of the largest investment requirements of any sector and the gestation period is long, but with multiple investors, we will move faster than when it was solely run by the government.
With the required foundation in place through the completion of the reforms, we have set the following benchmarks for the next four years:
The power sector has been liberalized and the power assets privatized. We are attracting new investments as a result and we are building new power stations, such as the Azura power plant in Edo. We will work with the private sector to ensure all teething problems arising from the privatization process are resolved and ensure the production of needed gas to power our plants.
We will complete the privatization process of the assets of the Niger Delta Holding Company Limited as contained in the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP). We will consider the privatization of the Transmission Company of Nigeria. The company has been concessioned but it is suffering from inadequate investment. In doing so, we will take measures that mitigate the monopoly elements of the company.
We will diversify our power sources and not rely on thermal alone. We will diversify into hydro, wind and solar sources as well. We will complete the hydro power projects we have started, including Mambila, Zungeru and Kashimbila and accelerate cost of power initiative.
We will ensure that the diversity of our power sources help improve on climate change fight. We take climate change seriously and will ensure that our power mix help to mitigate the risks of climate change in Nigeria.
Road Development and improvement in travel connectivity
In the last four years, we have increased the number of motorable, federal roads from 5,000 to 25,000 motorable out of 35,000. This has generated jobs and also offers a lifeline for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods. We will rehabilitate the rest and ensure that all our major cities and towns are connected by motorable federal roads. We will build and construct new highways, including the already designed new Triangle super highways that link Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano, and all cities in between. The roads will serve as alternative and more direct routes than existing connections. We will set up Road Fund and employ the PPP arrangement to accelerate road construction and maintenance.
Since 2011, there has been massive and sustained road rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion programme on federal roads. We have completed 62 road projects, including but not limited to the following Oturkpo-Oweto Road (Section 1), Benin- Ofosu Section of Benin-Ore Shagamu highway, Enugu-Abakaliki-Ogoja Junction-Ikom-Mfum Road, Vom-Manchok Road; Onitsha-Owerri highway, Gombe-Numan-Yola road (Section II: Numan-Gombe), Apapa-Oshodi highway (Section 1), Langtang-Lalin-Tunkus-Shendam Road; Vande – Obudu Cattle Ranch Road, Phase 1, Gombe Bypass; Mainchi-Anka-Daki-Takwas road among others.
In the next four years, we will execute road projects across the country within the limits of available resources. Some of the projects include:
Construction and rehabilitation works are progressively on-going at 122 different locations in the country, including the dualization and/ or expansion of Kano-Maiduguri highway; Lagos-Ibadan highway; Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja highway, Suleja-Minna Road, Lokoja-Benin Road, Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega-Kontagora-Mekara Road, Section 1, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Section II, Mokwa-Bida Road, Akure-Ilesha Road, Enugu-Port Harcourt highway, Katsina-Daura Road, Gombe-Potiskum Road etc. All these projects will be completed in the coming four years.
We recognize that even when fully rehabilitated, the existing roads are not adequate for the growing number of vehicles in the country – from about two million in 2001 to over nine million today. We will thus build and construct new highways, including the already designed new Triangle super highways that linked Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano and all cities in between. The roads will serve as alternative and more direct routes than existing connections.
The Second Lagos Outer Ring Road to ease the transportation of goods from the Ports of Lagos and reduce the current chaotic traffic situation within the City of Lagos.
We have started some important signature projects built through PPP and these will be completed in the next four years. The Lagos-Ibadan highway and the Second Bridge are important to improving connectivity across the country and they will be completed in the next four years. The funding for both projects is already in place.
Given the difficulty of maintaining existing roads and building new ones as road travel expands, we will establish a road fund used as dedicated funding arrangement for road rehabilitation and construction.
Railways as a viable alternative to road travel
In the next four years, our railway system will be modern and efficient and serve as a viable alternative to road travel for both haulage and passenger services.
Since 2011, we developed a strategic master plan to improve traveler’s experiences in our airports by renovating existing infrastructure and expanding capacities across the country, improve on the safety of infrastructure, and ensuring that our airspace is safe. Since then, we have vigorously implemented the Master Plan and made critical policy intervention in order to modernize Nigeria’s aviation industry.
In the next four years, in order to accelerate the plan for Nigeria, as West African aviation hub, we will accomplish the following:
We are currently building five new additional terminals in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu. We will complete the construction of these terminals in the next four years. We will complete the upgrade of 11 terminals, including that of Jigawa, Bayelsa, Kebbi, Bauchi, Edo, Kwara and Delta. They will be completed in the coming four years.
Build on the shift from Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunication Network to fully automated Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) to achieve aeronautical message handling system.
The ongoing installation of airfield lightning in 13 thirteen airports throughout the country will optimize and upgrade air transport operation in and out of these airports to 24 hours service. Over the next two years, all international airports and major airports in the country will be operational 24 hours daily.
We shall work assiduously to make aviation sector contribute significantly to Nigeria’s growth, expand our tourism and be a catalyst for regional economic growth and development in Nigeria. A key part is our plan for a national carrier, which will be a private sector led initiative. Before the end of the next four years, Nigeria will have a national carrier that can compete effectively with other international airlines.
We will build additional runways in Lagos and Abuja airports. This will ease landing and take-off constraints at our airports. We will leverage on private sector management expertise where appropriate. The emerging runways and complementary airside infrastructure coming on stream will consider the requirements for aircrafts with larger wingspan and weight, which currently are in use on major world air routes.
We will continue to expand regional direct flights, and conclude the work we have started on cargo and perishable cargo flights from our regions to international markets.
Transforming Abuja into a world class capital city
A transforming country such as Nigeria needs a functional, environmental friendly, and beautiful capital city. Abuja’s population has grown from an estimated 400,000 people just over a decade ago to an estimated three million people. We are now building a smart and functional capital city and our vision is to work towards making Abuja the best capital city in Africa and one of the best in the world.
The population of Abuja is projected to rise to six million in the next five years. We have started to implement the strategic plan for the city to cater for the unprecedented projected increase in population. We are developing 17 satelite towns, expanding infrastructure, education and health facilities, and promoting sustainable economic development. In the last four years, we have completed the expansion and upgrade of Airport Road, leading to a reduction of two hours travel time between the city and the airport, and made very advanced progress on the Abuja Mass Transit railway that will connect the city of Abuja and its satellite towns.
In the next four years, to improve the living and working environment for those that live and visit Abuja, my administration will embark on the following:
We will continue to work with the private sector to implement key signature and iconic projects that are in different stages of completion, including the Centenary City, the Millennium Tower and Cultural Centre, the World Trade Centre, the Abuja Film Village and the Abuja Technological Centre.
Complete the Abuja Mass Transit railway system, and ongoing expansion to 10 lanes of the 42 km road linking Nyayan to Apo through Wasa. These are in line with the plans to improve connectivity between the city of Abuja and satellite towns. In addition, the continuation of the development of the 17 satellite towns through the provision of housing transportation and other forms of infrastructure.
JOBS, WEALTH CREATION AND SAFETY NETS
I have just discussed and provided details of our plans for the next four years on the economy. I have explained where the growth will come from and discussed in details our plan for the infrastructure to support the growth sectors. All these plans are to ensure that our efforts at job creation are sustained.
Jobs and Wealth Creation
A job is more than just a means to earn a living. It is also a reflection of one’s self worth and relevance. I grew up in a part of Nigeria where poverty was our constant, unwelcome companion. There were no jobs. Now in public life, I have seen the same, familiar issues in the North, in the East and the West. I have seen the impact of a generation of neglect on our fragile environment.
But these are problems that we can fix. We have started to correct the structural weaknesses in the economy that are responsible for the high rate of unemployment and underemployment in the economy. We are committed to deepening and broadening economic reforms in order to unlock investment opportunities for the private sector and enable it to grow and create jobs. In the next four years, in partnership with the private sector, we will create at least eight million jobs.
Since I became the President of this great nation, I have been preoccupied with two major problems facing our country-high level of unemployment, especially amongst our youths, and high incidence of poverty. These twin problems were symptoms of what I considered major weaknesses in our economic development and the nature of our economic growth. I was determined to address them and improve the standard of living of all Nigerians. Since then, our vision has been very clear and our commitment and resolve are unshakable.
To ensure that our economy is diversified and competitive, and can generate jobs for our young people entering the market, we have carried out extensive reforms on agriculture, power, manufacturing ICT, housing and construction. All these reforms and changes are focused on sound macroeconomic policies. These policies are creating an enabling environment for the private sector, making Nigeria’s economy more competitive and enhancing its ability to create jobs for Nigerians. We have also established a Jobs Board, with membership drawn from the public and private sectors. The Jobs Board will work on ways of accelerating job creation. These measures are already beginning to yield results.
However, three important statistics show the challenges we face. First, it is currently estimated that 1.8 million people enter the labour market each year, but the economy presently creates about 1.4 million jobs a year. Second, underemployment is a major problem. Third, though progress has been made on reducing poverty, we can and will do better. Our aim is full employment, in a broad based private sector-led economy to move Nigeria forward to the next level. This is the cornerstone of our transformation agenda.
Therefore, in the next four years, my administration will accomplish the following in the area of jobs and wealth creation.
We will work with the private sector to create a minimum of two million jobs per annum. This will be based on the deepening and expansion of our economic reform policies across all industries. These programmes will help create investment opportunities for the private sector.
Over the last four years, we have championed initiatives that centered on entrepreneurships, industry training and skills acquisition. These initiatives have shown tremendous results. In the next four years, we will strengthen these measures.
We will continue to review the minimum wage to combat the challenges of the working poor in our midst.
Safety Net Programmes for the vulnerable
Our policies are designed to be as inclusive as possible. But we will also make provisions for the most vulnerable in our society. My government will therefore continue to expand the safety net programmes we started in the last four years to ensure that every Nigerian is catered for. Creation of safety nets, coupled with job creation, will help tackle the problem of inequality in our society.
In the coming four years, the social safety net programme will provide the platform upon which Nigeria can address income inequalities, improve on low social development indices and enable improved human capital development. This is in line with the National Social Protection Policy being developed by the National Planning Commission (NPC).
In the next four years, our programme on safety nets and gender policy will include the following:
We will create national safety net programmes based on the conditional cash transfer concept. We have created out a number of pilot studies during my first term, including the conditional cash transfer initiative and the “saving one million lives”. They have worked well. These initiatives will be expanded to cover the country in the next four years. The conditional cash transfer initiative seeks to improve the living standard of every poor woman and her household based on sending children to school and ensuring their immunization as a condition for receiving the cash transfer.
We will establish a robust targeting mechanism through a national registry with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
We will develop monitoring and evaluation systems to track beneficiaries, cash payments and fulfillment of conditions.
We will establish electronic payment systems that will focus on the opportunities presented by the growth of new technology.
GOVERNANCE AND PUBLIC SECTOR MANAGEMENT
Improving governance for all Nigerians
We have heard a lot in this campaign about corruption. Corruption does not happen in a vacuum. It is not an abstract concept. It is a corrosive virus that we have been living with for 60 years. It destroys institutions and the rule of law. It encourages the few to benefit at the expense of the many.
Nigeria deserves a culture where merit and hard work are the keys to success, where what counts is what you know rather than whom you know.
We have put in place measures that minimize the loopholes for corruption, and strengthen institutions for fighting corruption. Nigerians can expect swifter prosecution of the war on graft in the coming four years. Under my watch, in the next four years, the full weight of government power will be put behind the prosecution of the fight against corruption. The government will spare no expense to minimize opportunities for corruption.
My approach to governance in the last four years draws on my understanding of how a democracy should not be applied. Ours is a maturing democracy with a significant influence of our recent military experiences and hangover. The last five years have presented us the opportunity to strengthen democratic values and consolidate civil liberties in our beloved country. Never before have we, as a people, witnessed the strengthening of institutions, the sanctity of the social contract and an unfettered media. Despite what our critics might say, Transparency International data confirm that corruption during my first administration has been judged lower than when compared with previous governments. We want to go further. We want to eradicate the pervasive notion of corruption in the country. We will continue to deal with this through institutional means, rather than simply dealing with the symptoms.
In the next four years, our plans on curbing corruption are as follows:
Preventive and institutional measures. We shall continue to promote the use of institutional systems based on the latest technology to prevent corruption. We shall expedite use of biometrics and other applications such as the IPPIS, GIFMIS, and TSA to block revenue and other leakages.
We shall strengthen anti corruption agencies such as EFCC and ICPC to more aggressively trace and fight corruption.
Strengthen the judiciary to speed up the processing of cases of corruption. We will work with the judiciary to map out the operational modalities.
Understand very clearly that most of the perception of corruption during my first administration is in relation to the oil and gas sector. I understand the perception that the oil sector is complicated and regarded as opaque and non-transparent. This is why we have proposed the swift passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), currently undergoing consideration at the National Assembly in order to further open up the sector.
I enacted the Freedom of Information into law, I will continue to expect easy access to information as provided by the Freedom of Information law.
We will strengthen the internal audit functions of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure strict compliance with government’s rules on financial management.
Continue our reforms that reduce the footprint of government in business, thereby reducing the opportunities for corruption, graft and patronage. Increase the use of technological applications to reduce the opportunity for corruption. We will extend the use of the IPPIS and GIFMIS system to cover all MDAs.
We will continue to strengthen the capacity of the civil service to effectively deliver services without resort to favour.
The National Conference and the future of Nigeria
Through the National conference, the people of Nigeria have spoken on the way they wish to be governed and that touches on critical structural arrangements that border on governance, security, and economic relationships within the country. Working with the National Assembly, I will implement all the resolutions of the conference. My vision is of a Nigeria where the people’s voice translates to reality. We are committed to implementing the resolutions of the conference in order to meet the aspirations and desires of all Nigerians to live in a free and fair country where everyone has equal rights and opportunities.
The 2014 National Conference was an eloquent testimony to our commitment to fostering unity, economic development and social justice among our people. Our people discussed and made recommendations on salient issues of national importance. We believe that the resolutions of the conference, if diligently implemented, will set our nation on the path of economic prosperity and political stability. We shall collaborate with the National Assembly to ensure that the resolutions are implemented to the letter.
International diplomacy and Cooperation for Nigeria’s Growth and Prosperity
The world needs a Nigeria that is united, democratic, prosperous and peaceful. In the next four years, Nigeria will redouble its efforts towards global engagement and continue to promote peaceful and harmonious coexistence with all friendly nations. Our foreign policy has brought many dividends to our economy and increased inflow of FDI. Our engagement in the West African region has helped neutralize the capacity of Boko Haram. We will continue to leverage on our size and growth for the fight against climate change, domestic and global terrorism and the promotion of human rights. We shall play our role in the implementation of the post 2015 MDG agenda and the support for sustainable development.
Since independence, Nigeria has always sought an active and constructive internationalist foreign policy, committed to promoting and defending its national interest. Our membership of all critical international organization attests to the fact that Nigeria’s foreign policy is never one of isolationism. My administration has never deviated from this longstanding tradition of engagement with Africa and the world in support of peace and democratic values. We do this not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it benefits our country and people.
During my tenure, leaders from more than 25 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, and South America have paid visits to Nigeria. On my part, I have reciprocated these gestures by making state visits to many of these countries. We have strengthened ties with Nigeria’s immediate neighbours of Chad, Benin, Niger and Cameroon to deal with issues of regional security, regional economic cooperation and trade. I leveraged my chairmanship of ECOWAS in the period, (2010-2012) to promote and accelerate the achievement of the ECOWAS Agenda.
In the next four years, my administration will work with the international community to achieve the following:
We will continue to promote regional economic integration in West Africa and Africa. Nigeria will serve as the engine of growth for West and Africa as a whole.
We will leverage on our size and growth to ensure a permanent seat for Africa at the Security Council.
We will continue to support the fight to tackle climate change in the international community. We will work with other national and international organizations to draw up and implement the post Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda.
We will continue to play our role in ridding the world of scourge of terrorism, both at home and internationally. In this context, we will support conflict resolution agendas and war on terror.
Promotion of greater economic and political cooperation and interdependence among nations and economic diplomacy to increase FDI into Nigeria.
We will actively work to see Nigeria integrated into the most important global economic gatherings and associations.
OUR CORE VALUES
All that we have set out to do above all will be achieved, ingrained and institutionalized in a context that promotes Nigerian culture and values. For too long, we have pursued development to the exclusion of the things that uniquely make us a people like no other African nation. Just as we are moving away from the things that weaken us, we must begin to espouse our strengths. Our shared values will drive our growth and development. These values will speak to our identity, shape our consciousness and set quality standards for conduct and behavior.
Our core values are:
The nation Nigeria is greater than the individual – Long after the individual ceases to exist, Nigeria will continue from generation to generation. We therefore must approach our decision in governance, the economy, and in society putting Nigeria first.
Promoting unity and integration of Nigerian cultural values in nation building – Nigeria is a nation of diverse people, but all our cultures share some common values – respect for elders and others; love of our families, community and country, Honesty, hardwork and integrity. Tolerance and respect with utmost Faith in God. These values caused our patriots and heroes to give up their lives for the unity and survival of the nation. We shall never forget their sacrifices, and will not allow this nation to disintegrate. These values will enrich our diversity and propel our nation to greater heights.
Promote a positive image of Nigeria – For too long, we have in words or deeds tarnished the image of our great country. Henceforth, our actions and programmes will actively promote a positive image of Nigeria. We will no longer be passive, but will project the best of Nigeria for the entire world to see. We implore all Nigerians to promote the positive image of this country.
Efficiency and Prudence – Nigeria is richly blessed by the Almighty with vast resources, but without efficiency and prudence.