By Marcus Ikechukwu
With barely seven months to the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari elapsing, he has rated his administration fairly, saying high-impact projects have been implemented across the country, meeting the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.
The President gave his scorecard on Monday in Abuja while declaring open this administration’s last Ministerial Performance Review Retreat.
Addressing the Retreat organised to evaluate the level of progress made in the implementation of the Nine Priority Agenda of his Administration, the President highlighted remarkable progress made in the areas of agriculture, economy, infrastructure, security, health, and anti-corruption, among others.
The President told participants and guests at the retreat, including the Keynote Speaker and immediate past President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, that over 3,800 KM of roads have been constructed across the country, while 38 new aircraft were acquired for the Nigerian Air Force to boost the fight against insurgency.
He also added that 38.7 million Nigerians had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, representing 35 per cent of the eligible population target for vaccination.
On infrastructure, the President said: ”In recognition of the importance of critical infrastructure in economic development and the quest of this Administration to leave a lasting legacy, we have implemented high-impact projects across the length and breadth of the country that meets the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.
”Some notable achievements include the completion of 326km Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line and railway ancillary facilities; the completion of over 156.5km Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway modernization project with extension to Lagos Port, Apapa.
”On road projects, this Administration has constructed 408Km of roads; 2,499Km of SUKUK roads and maintenance of 15,961Km of roads across the Country.
”Key among these projects is the construction of 1.9km 2nd Niger Bridge linking Anambra and Delta States with 10.30km approach road; rehabilitation, construction and expansion of Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan dual carriageway; the ongoing rehabilitation of Abuja-Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Road, among others.”
Stressing that the Federal Government under his watch has sustained commitment to infrastructural development for the past 7 years, President Buhari said over 941km of completed SUKUK road projects nationwide had been handed over.
Furthermore, he said the Federal Government has reconstructed 21 selected Federal Roads totalling 1,804.6km under the Road Infrastructure Development & Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Policy.
He explained that the roads, which are funded by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, are in addition to similar existing collaboration with Messrs Dangote Industries Limited and other corporate organisations to improve the stock of the country’s road infrastructure.
On aviation, the President assured that establishing a National Carrier for Nigeria is at 91 per cent completion and is expected to commence flight operations before the end of this year.
He said the feat is being boosted with the certification of Lagos and Abuja International Airports by the International Civil Aviation Organization, while Kano and Port Harcourt Airports are undergoing similar certification processes.
On the economy, the President restated that the country had witnessed seven consecutive quarters of growth after negative growth rates were recorded in the 2nd and 3rd Quarters of 2020.
”The GDP grew by 3.54% (year-on-year) in real terms in the 2nd Quarter of 2022. This growth rate represents a sustained positive economic performance, especially for the Non-Oil GDP, which fell by 4.77% in Q2 2022, against Oil GDP which grew by -11.77%.
”Most sectors of the economy recorded positive growth, which reflects the effective implementation of the economic sustainability measures introduced by this Administration,” he said.
On the Communications & Digital Economy Sector, the President noted that giant strides had been made through broadband coverage which currently stands at 44.32%, reinforced by 77.52% 4G coverage with the establishment of 36,751 4G base stations nationwide.
Similarly, the President declared that the Power Sector had remained a critical priority for the Administration, adding that the implementation of a ‘Willing Buyer-Willing Seller’ policy introduced by the Federal Government has opened up opportunities for increased delivery of electricity to underserved homes and industries.
”We are also executing a number of critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme, which will result in achieving the national goal of improved power supply by 2025.
”It is important to state that the partnership between the Federal Government of Nigeria and German Siemens AG through the Presidential Power Initiative to increase electricity generation to 25,000 Megawatts (MW) in six years is on the course, as the first batch of the transformers has arrived Nigeria already.”
On the oil and gas sector, the President recalled that on 16th August 2021, he signed the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) into law, providing a legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, as well as the development of host communities and related matters.
He noted that to achieve the objectives of the PIA, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation was unbundled while the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream & Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority were established.
In efforts towards strengthening national security, the President said his administration has substantially invested in arms, weapons and other critical military hardware and continuous training for the Armed Forces.
”The Nigerian Air Force has acquired 38 brand-new aircraft and is expecting another batch of 36 new ones, while the Nigerian Navy has been equipped with new platforms, sophisticated riverine, Rigid-Hull Inflatable, Seaward Defence, Whaler & Fast Attack Boats as well as Helicopters and Capital Ships.
”To boost the number of our Police personnel, 20,000 policemen have been recruited, trained, fully integrated and deployed in 2020 and 2021. This exercise has strengthened our community policing strategy enshrined in the Police Act 2020.’’
In the fight against corruption, the President promised that the administration would continue to review and prosecute high-profile corruption cases and ensure speedy completion.
Concerning Social Investment Programmes, the President said 9,990,862 pupils are being fed through the School Feeding Programme, which employs 128,531 cooks in local communities.
”Following the passage of the National Health Act in 2014, this Administration began including the 1% minimum portion of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to cater for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).
”Consequently, 988,652 poor and indigent Nigerians have been enrolled in the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).
”We should also note that a total of 7,373 primary health facilities have been accredited and capitated under the National Health Insurance Scheme pathway, while 7,242 Primary Health Care facilities are receiving Decentralized Facility Financing under the National Primary Health Care Development Agency – Basic Health Care Provision Fund gateway,” the President said on milestones in the health sector.
President Buhari also lauded Nigeria’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, noting that the country’s achievement has been commended by the World Health Organisation.
He said at the end of September 2022, 51,713,575 eligible people had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, representing 46.3% of the eligible population.
”Out of this number, 38,765,510 people have been fully vaccinated, representing 34.7% of the eligible population.
The President urged all eligible Nigerians to ensure they are fully vaccinated as Nigeria’s vaccine stock balance stands at about 27 million doses.
On agriculture, the President expressed delight that, as a direct result of the investment, the sector has experienced significant growth.
”The shortfall in food production and food importation bills have both been reduced significantly. Along with the production of other staple crops, we have reached our goal of self-sufficiency in rice production.
”We are exerting a lot of effort to solve the problem of the rising cost of food related to inflation, being a global crisis.”
President Buhari directed Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and all Heads of Agencies to reinvigorate their efforts in ramping-up delivery of flagship programmes and projects contained in their Ministerial Mandates.
He acknowledged the efforts of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and his team in sustaining the Annual Performance Review Retreats, adding that this has enabled the cabinet to maintain focus on the nine-point Agenda and, more importantly, providing solid evidence that supports the achievements.
”I am also proud to see that our Administration is staying true to our commitment to the Open Government Partnership initiative, which I signed up for in 2017. In this regard, the Presidential Delivery Tracker was launched on 30th August 2022, which is a clear testament to this Administration’s commitment to participatory governance.
”As part of efforts to strengthen performance management culture, the Central Delivery Coordination Unit is being institutionalised.
”As an initiative of this Administration, I am delighted to bequeath this legacy to my successor as part of the mechanisms that will assist the next Administration in delivering on its promises to the Nigerian people,” he said.
Setting the context for the two-day meeting, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said the retreat had been structured into three main focus areas.
”First is an overview of ministerial performance within the last three years of the administration, presenting key achievements and identifying opportunities for improvement.
”Second will reflect on lessons and good practices from the Kenyan presidential delivery unit while the third is ways to accelerate the delivery of flagship projects and programmes of the Buhari administration before the end of the tenure in May 2023.”
Mustapha announced that President Buhari would sign an Executive Order on Improving Performance Management, Coordination and Implementation of Presidential Priorities of the Federal Government of Nigeria at the end of the 3rd Ministerial Performance Review Retreat.
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, Speaker of the House Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and Senate President Ahmed Lawan delivered goodwill messages at the Retreat.