Akinola: Relevance of TAN in this democracy
INFORMATION dissemination is key in any democratic dispensation. Lack of it creates rumour and disenchantment. This is why the media is a partner in progress, in any meaningful democracy. If government is doing what is expected of it, it is through effective dissemination of information that the citizen is made aware and if the reverse is the case, then, the government would be on its toes to redeem.
One thing which is unique with the Goodluck Jonathan administration is its unwritten rule of “do much, say little.” This is what is guiding the government and upon which critics and the opposition rest their accusation that the government is not doing much. But this is not the case based on indices that will be enumerated.
The Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria, TAN, has taken it upon itself as a national patriotic mission to rebrand our President the way none has done for any President in Nigeria or elsewhere before. This is where a big kudos is due to the Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah-led team in TAN. The task before TAN is not to say what is not, but what really is.
Today, investors, home and abroad are aware of the transformation agenda and roadmap of the present government, which hitherto were not made manifest due to bureaucratic bottlenecks as well as undue partisanship. They took advantage by investing into virtually all sectors of our economy, culminating into what now led to Nigeria’s economy becoming the largest in the whole of Africa.
Goodluck Jonathan could be described as a well-tutored and well-rounded political player who had gone through the mills from a lower rung of the political leadership to the highest in the land. Also unique in GEJ is the fact that all through his political journey, he is always on hand whenever a vacuum is created either through man-made problem (of his governor-boss) or death (of his president-boss). In each of the cases, divine purpose has always played out.
Since assumption to the presidency, Goodluck Jonathan has embarked on unprecedented transformation agenda, a quiet revolution in nearly all sectors of Nigerian economic, social and political lives. The President had on several occasions reiterated the commitment of his administration to make Nigeria a better place and a global economic power, using the 2012-2015 Medium Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF) and Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) as the linchpin. Apart from setting up clear-cut guidelines for the four-year fiscal regime, the economic blueprint also recommends prudent management of the nation’s wealth to free up more funds for infrastructure projects and other developmental purposes. Finance minister has consistently reiterated government’s resolve to keep fiscal deficit under 3%, in the coming years.
While delivering the one of his administration’s budget proposals to the National Assembly, President Jonathan had assured that his administration had found the magic wand. “My government is determined to pursue policies that will ensure a stable macroeconomic environment through a strong and prudent fiscal policy, manageable deficits, sustainable debt-GDP ratio of no more than 30%, and single digit inflation, thereby promoting real growth. We believe that these measures would engender a stable and competitive exchange rate and help to reverse the declining trend of our international reserves”, Jonathan declared.
Apparently piqued by the country’s spending of well over N1.3 trillion per annum on the importation of foodstuff which it could produce locally, President Jonathan is determined to end the importation of rice. “We must stop the importation of rice. There is no reason Nigeria should be importing rice. We have all that is needed to grow enough for domestic consumption and have a surplus we can export to other countries.” And true to this assertion, the agricultural sector has been identified as a huge success.
The transformation from rustic farming to mechanized agriculture which requires empowering local farmers to adopt modern and cost-effective technologies is now vigorously pursued. The Ministry of Agriculture has worked towards engendering improved quality and distribution of fertilizers; marketing reforms; innovative financing and developing commodity exchange; research and development; competitive exchange rates; and development of storage infrastructure. These new measures have worked to liberate the country from food insufficiency and making it a major food exporter in the nearest future.
The government is also assisting companies to raise funds from banks to finance input purchase with about N30 billion earmarked for the programme. In addition, government has agreed to pay 10 per cent achievement fees for companies meeting 100 per cent of supply of seeds and fertilizers to farmers.
Transport sector revival
Lately, Nigeria’s transport sector has shown signs that the reforms initiated by the Federal Government over the years have started yielding fruits. This follows marching orders by the Federal Government for the completion of all ongoing projects as a matter of urgent national priority. The projects include the dual-carriage Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja road; construction of Oju-Loko-Oweto bridge linking Nasarawa and Benue states; dual-carriage Kano-Maiduguri road; construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge in Delta/Anambra states; rehabilitation of the Shagamu-Ore-Benin dual carriageway; and the rehabilitation of the Onitsha-Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway, and so many more which this space will not allow.
TAN has come to the rescue, making prudent use of available human and material resources. The coming of TAN and its array of radio, television, print, as well as outdoor media onslaught has deeply highlighted many of these achievements of GEJ’s administration in all critical sectors of the economy. Road shows home and in the Diaspora have been well coordinated to achieve this same objective.