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Buhari speaks on achievements, says Nigeria looking “inward” for COVI9-19 cure

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday reeled out his administration achievements in a nationwide broadcast to commemorate the June 12 Democracy Day celebration.

“We have recorded notable achievements in the course of implementing our nine priority objectives and are establishing a solid foundation for future success,” Buhari said.

The president said his administration has been able to actualise its objective as regards the economy by stabilizing “the macroeconomy, achieve agricultural and food security, ensure energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products, develop infrastructure, fight corruption and improve governance.”

Buhari said, although, the coronavirus has caused a downturn in different countries’ economies, Nigeria’s economy shrinking was “relatively moderate.”

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Nigeria witnessed eleven quarters of consecutive GDP growth since exiting recession.

“The GDP grew from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019 but declined to 1.87% in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the decline in global economic activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Buhari said.

Despite the coronavirus economic disruptions, the country’s external reserves grew from $33.42 billion on April 29th 2020 to about $36.00 billion in May 2020.

This is enough to finance seven months of import commitments, said Buhari.

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He said about 774, 000 youths will be engaged in a Special Public Works Programme to cushion the effects of the economic downturn on Nigerian youths.

“Each of the 774 local government areas in the country will be allotted 1,000 slots. I am pleased to report that this programme has commenced,” he added.

The president says the nation has begun to look “inward” for the virus cure.

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Buhari also said Nigeria, due to some of his administration policies, has risen by 25 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking from 146th to 131st and is now rated as one of the top ten reforming countries.

“Our agreement with Siemens will transmit and distribute a total of 11,000 Megawatts by 2023, to serve our electricity needs,” Buhari said.

Buhari said a total of 412km of the targeted 643km road projects, through the SUKUK-Funded Road Projects, have been completed while he also mentioned that 48% of work on the 2nd Niger Bridge has been completed

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“We have constructed 102km of the 376km Abuja – Kaduna – Kano Road, representing 38%, and the 42.9km Obajana – Kabba Road is 87.03% complete,” he said, adding that “the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency has completed routine maintenance on over 4,000km of federal roads out of the 5,000km targeted.”

“The Lagos-Ibadan Rail Line is 90% completed and would be extended to the Lagos Port which would help address the long-standing gridlock at the Apapa port,” Buhari said.

His administration, he said, has raised “all our airports” to international standards.

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On oil, the president said peace has been restored in the Niger Delta Region and the country is conducting bidding process for “57 Marginal Oil Fields to increase revenue and increase the participation of Nigerian companies in oil and exploration and production business.”

On education, Buhari said his administration launched the Better Education Service Delivery for All in 17 states, which established additional 6 Federal Science and Technical Colleges and currently executing a pro-active Teacher Training Plan with all states of the Federation.

“Over 9,963,729 children are being fed to keep them in school and improve their nutritional status,” Buhari said.

Buhari said his administration has delivered “1,200 housing units, provision of 520 service plots with infrastructure through a Public-Private Sector partnership and the issuance of 868 mortgages totalling N7.7 Billion” in an attempt to provide affordable housing for the low and middle-income earners.

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He said Home Renovation Loans totalling N16.2 Billion have been granted to 19, 210 people.

“In order to improve our forest cover and in fulfilment of my commitment at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2019, we have commenced the planting of 25 million trees. This initiative will also contribute to our effort to mitigate the effect of climate change,” the president said.

On security, the president said, “all the Local Governments that were taken over by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have long been recovered and are now occupied by indigenes of these areas who were hitherto forced to seek a living in areas far from their ancestral homes.”

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“The total collapse of the economies of these areas, which constituted a threat to our food security, has also been reversed with the gradual recovery of farming and other economic activities,” he said.

Buhari further lamented the spike in attacks and killings in Katsina and Borno States and promised that “security agencies will pursue the perpetrators and bring them to swift justice.”

To strengthen Nigeria internal security architecture, Buhari said, the Ministry of Police Affairs was created and Nigerian Police Trust Fund was established as a public-private sector vehicle for alternative sources of funding security activities.

“Government has expanded the National Command and Control Centre to nineteen states of the federation, resuscitated the National Public Security Communication System and commenced the implementation of the Community Policing Strategy,” he said.

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According to Buhari about 549,500 N-Power beneficiaries, 408,682 beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme and 2,238,334 beneficiaries of the Growth Enhancement and Empowerment Programme, have been engaged in Social Investment Programme by his administration.

“Marketmoni” and “Tradermoni” Programmes have provided affordable loans to small and micro-scale enterprises to grow their businesses,” he added.

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