Since President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn into office in May 2015, he has remained resolute in the fight against corruption, insecurity and reviving the nation’s economy.
Although the focus has been on this front, the question has been how well he has done in other areas.
On infrastructure financing, there was a Presidential approval, in 2020, for the establishment of InfraCo Plc, a world class infrastructure development vehicle, wholly focused on Nigeria, with combined debt and equity take-off capital of N15 trillion, and managed by an independent infrastructure fund manager.
The current administration in 2020 also established the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), with more than $1 Billion in funding so far.
The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has seen total additional inflows from the government of around US$2 billion under the Buhari Administration – since the original US$1 billion which the Fund kicked off in 2012. It also launched the Nigeria Innovation Fund, by the NSIA, to address investment opportunities in the domestic technology sector: data networking, data centers, software, Agri-tech, Bio-tech, etc.
For easy transportation of people and goods, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration constructed 156km Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail, 327km Itakpe-Warri Standard Gauge Rail completed and commissioned 33 years after construction began, Abuja Light Rail completed in 2018.
Also, the ground-breaking was done recently for the construction of Kano-Maradi Standard Gauge Rail, and revamp of Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri Narrow Gauge Rail, while the financing negotiations ongoing for Ibadan-Kano Standard Gauge Rail project Under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), investing over a billion dollars in three flagship road projects: Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway.
Also, Executive Order 7 mobilized private investment into the development of key roads and bridges like Bodo-Bonny in Rivers and Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki-Ojota in Lagos. Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI), a public-private partnership program to mobilise, in its first Phase, over a Trillion Naira in private investment into the development and maintenance of 12 Roads, amounting to 1,963km in length.
Similarly, more than 360 billion Naira worth of Sukuk Bonds have been raised since 2017 for dozens of critical road projects across all six geopolitical zones.
To ensure comfort for Nigerians, the current administration also realize the completion of New Terminals for International Airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt, construction of New Runway for Abuja and Enugu International Airports, Presidential approval for four International Airports as Special Economic Zones: Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt, Approval for new private-sector funded deep sea ports: Lekki Deep Sea Port (Construction already well underway, for completion in 2022); Bonny Deep Sea Port (Ground-breaking done in March 2021); Ibom Deep Sea Port; and Warri Deep Sea Port, development of capacity at the Eastern Ports:
In December 2017, Calabar Port commenced export of bulk cement to Tema Port in Ghana while in 2019, three container ships berthed at Calabar Port, for the first time in eleven years, dredging of Warri Port (Escravos Bar—Warri Port channel) completed in 2018.
On October 30, 2019, an LPG Tanker operated by NLNG, berthed in Port Harcourt – the first time ever an LPG ship berthed in any of the Eastern Ports, on December 8, 2019, Onne Port received JPO VOLANS (owned by Maersk), the FIRST gearless and largest container vessel (265.07 metres) to call at any Eastern Port in Nigeria.
This is even as on August 1, 2019, Onne Port’s Brawal Terminal received MSC GRACE, its first container vessel since 2012.
To improve power supply, the current administration introduced, Energizing Education Programme: Taking clean and reliable energy (Solar and Gas) to Federal Universities and Teaching Hospitals across the country.
Four Universities completed and commissioned already: BUK (Kano), FUNAI (Ebonyi), ATBU (Bauchi) and FUPRE (Delta); others ongoing.
Also, the Energizing Economies Programme debuted to take clean and reliable energy (Solar and Gas) to markets across the country. Completed projects include Sabon-Gari Market in Kano, Ariaria Market in Aba, and Sura Shopping Complex in Lagos.
Under the social investment and poverty alleviation programme in 2016, President Buhari launched the National Social Investment Programme, currently the largest such programme in Africa and one of the largest in the world.
Currently, the National Social Register of poor and vulnerable Nigerians (NSR) has 32.6 million persons from more than 7 million poor and vulnerable households, identified across 708 local government areas, 8,723 wards and 86,610 communities across the 36 States of the country and the FCT.
Since assuming office, the Buhari Administration has committed more than N1.7 trillion of capital intervention to Nigeria’s tertiary institutions, through various means, including TETFund – with the universities taking the lion share of the total amount.
The Presidential approval for a new (extended) Retirement age of 65 and Length of Service of 40 years for Teachers in Public Basic and Secondary Schools in Nigeria (both effective January 1, 2021), as well as a new Special Teachers Salary Scale (effective January 1, 2022), and also a new Special Teachers Pension Scheme.
Launch of the Alternate School Programme (ASP), designed to ensure that every out-of-school child in Nigeria gains access to quality basic education, irrespective of social, cultural, or economic circumstance, in line with the aspirations of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG-4).
Reduction in the number of out-of-school children, by 3,247,590, as at 31st December, 2020, achieved through a World-Bank financed program known as ‘Better Education Service Delivery for All’(BESDA). 1,792,833 of that number achieved through formal schools while 1,454,757 are through non-formal interventions such as Almajiri, Girl-Child, Nomadic/Migrant and IDPs Education).
Under the World Bank-supported Innovation Development and Effectiveness in the Acquisition of Skills (IDEAS) Project, approved in 2020, US$200m will be invested in 6 participating States (Abia, Benue, Ekiti, Gombe, Kano, Edo) as well as 20 Federal Science and Technical Colleges nationwide. Implementation will be stepped up in 2021 to afford millions of Nigerian youths the opportunity to acquire hands-on skills to effectively contribute to national development.
To revamp the health sector, a Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) debut for the first time since the National Health Act was passed in 2014, the Federal Government in 2018 began including the 1% minimum portion of the Consolidated Revenue Fund – amounting to 55 billion Naira in 2018 – to fund the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF). The Fund is designed to deliver a guaranteed set of health services to all Nigerians, through the national network of Primary Health Care centers.
Passage of enabling legislation for the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), tertiary Healthcare Upgrade Programme.
How well these initiatives have improved the well being of Nigerians is another matter.
Reacting, an analyst, Olubisi Adebanjo, said, these claims by the federal government are good provided they reflect in the life of Nigerians.
“The inability of government to tackle the security issue remains a major challenge which seems to have clouded what has been done. This is a sad reflection,” he said.