… Economy at 1.95% growth
OLOGUN, Opeyemi Olorunishola
The Presidency ahead of the democracy day celebration released an official document through the twitter handle of Bashir Ahmad, detailing the achievements of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration in his three years in office.
In the 40-paged document, three key areas were reviewed: Economy, Anti-corruption and transparency and Security.
On the economy, the Presidency stated that the economy is back on the path of growth, after the recession of 2016-17 (1.95 percent growth in Q1 2018).
Similarly, a review of the Economy Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which was launched by the President in April 2017 was said to have recorded huge success.
The Presidency stated that the Federal Government launched the ERGP Focus Labs to fast-track the implementation of ERGP which was a targeted 6-week intervention (March to April 2018) bringing together all stakeholders to identify bureaucratic bottlenecks impacting medium-scale and large-scale investment projects in Nigeria, and then generate ideas and resources to resolve them.
It would be recalled that the economy recovery and growth plan was faulted by Bill Gates when he visited Nigeria in March, 2018.
He stressed the need for the government to focus on the development of human capital which was not prioritised in the plan. In his words, “to anchor the economy over the long term, investment in infrastructure and competitiveness must go hand in hand with investments in people”.
However, the Presidency in the document released on Monday, said the ERGP Focus Labs identified private-sector projects worth about US$22.5 billion – and with a potential for 500,000 jobs (in Agriculture, Transportation, Manufacturing and Processing, Power and Gas) – for unlocking by 2020.
A portion of the document with the theme “investing in people” would be perceived to negate the views of many who had criticised the government for focusing on infrastructural developments alone at the expense of the development of human capital.
Stating its achievements, the four components of Social Investment Programme (SIP) launched by this administration was said to be the largest and most ambitious social safety net programme in the history of Nigeria, “with 140 billion released and more than 9 million direct beneficiaries so far —200,000 N-Power beneficiaries currently participating and receiving N30,000 in monthly stipends (another 300,000 new enrolments being processed, to take the number to 500,000 this year)”.
“Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP): N15.183 billion in interest-free loans ranging from N50,000 to N350,000 disbursed to more than 300,000 market women, traders, artisans, farmers across all 36 States of the country and the FCT, under GEEP. (56 percent of the loans have gone to women)”.
Apart from the economy growth, the document highlighted Anti-Corruption & Transparency with some new policies implemented by the administration.
Some of the policies include: New Whistleblowing Policy, Increased Oversight of MDAs, The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), Expansion of TSA Coverage, Deployment of BVN for Payroll and Social Investment Programmes, Creation of Asset Tracking and Management Project, Replacement of old Cash-Based Accounting System with an Accruals-Based System, Enlistment into Open Government Partnership (OGP), Creation of Efficiency Unit (EU) to spearhead the efficient use of government resources, and ensure reduction in Recurrent Expenditure, which are all geared towards plugging loopholes and improving accountability in public spending.
While on security, the Presidency recounted some of its Successful Military Operations across the country especially in the Northeast and North Central. Some of these operations include:
• Operation Lafiya Dole, and Operation Last Hold, to defeat
Boko Haram, in the Northeast
• Operation Whirl Stroke, operating in Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara states, to tackle the menace of armed herdsmen, cattle rustlers, communal militias, kidnappers and other bandits.
• Exercise Crocodile Smile I (September 2016) and II (October 2017) to curtail the menace of militant activities in the Niger Delta:
• Exercise Obangame, a multinational operation aimed at securing and protecting the Gulf of Guinea.
• Operation Awatse, a joint operation between the Military and
the Police, in South West Nigeria, to flush out militants and pipeline vandals. Commenced July 2016, and still ongoing.
• Exercise Python Dance I (November 2016) and II (September 2017) in the South East, to tackle kidnappers and militant elements.
The document also touched on Diplomacy and International Relations, where the President affirmed the “Re-establishment of Nigeria’s position and influence in the regional and global arena.
Fragile/broken relations with the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, and with neighbouring countries (Chad, Niger, Cameroon) have been revived and strengthened since June 2015.”