President Muhammadu Buhari has said that what the present administration met as far as the economy was concerned was an economy in shambles as a result of widespread corruption and mismanagement of the national commonwealth, compounded by a sharp drop in the prices of oil in 2015.
The president stated this at the graduation of senior executive course SEC 40 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru near Jos, the Plateau State capital at the weekend.
Represented by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, President Buhari said that what his government inherited was an empty treasury, depleted foreign reserves, poor and dilapidated infrastructure, huge capital and current liabilities, food import dependency, long standing insurgency, myriads of internal security challenges and a situation whereby many state governments owed their workers’ salaries.
According to him, good governance involves transparency and prudence in public finance, social justice, investing in the poor and creating employment for the youth.
“When we assumed leadership in 2015, what we met was an economy in shambles as a result of widespread corruption and mismanagement of the national common-wealth, compounded by a sharp drop in the prices of oil.
“Indeed, we inherited an empty treasury, depleted foreign reserves, poor and dilapidated infrastructure, huge capital and current liabilities, food import dependency, long-standing insurgency, myriads of internal security challenges, and a situation whereby many state governments owed their workers’ salaries. To make matters worse, the economy also went into a recession.”
“These inherited circumstances put us under extreme difficulty, particularly when measured against the expectations of Nigerians who voted for us expecting a better governance. We had to develop and implement some policies that would quickly get us out of this unsavoury situation.
“To address the problems fundamentally, we put in place several policy frameworks, the major one being the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which laid out the strategy for achieving the government’s vision of sustained and inclusive growth. The ERGP provided the framework for short-term recovery and structural reforms aimed at diversifying the economy to set it on a path of sustainable growth over the medium and long term. We took further measures including the Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business to address identified bottlenecks.
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I am sure you will agree that these policy choices we have made are yielding results. For instance, the economy came out of recession and has been experiencing growth. We have reduced rice importation by 90 per cent and revived our capacity to produce fertilizer locally. Moreover, we have tremendously improved on our ranking in the ease of doing business by the World Bank. Our foreign reserve is now USD 44 billion, the highest in the last five years. The implication of these is that Nigeria remains the strongest economy on the African continent due to the policies put in place by this government,” Buhari added.
On infrastructure, he said, “We have made substantial progress despite earning so much less than previous governments. In 2015, the power generation capacity was less than 4,600 MW, and in three years, it has now reached 8,000 MW. However, we are assiduously working to address the legal and institutional challenges in the transmission and distribution chain so that the system can uptake all the power generated.
“We have put in place several policies to ensure prudence and transparency in the management of public resources. Furthermore, we have articulated policies to address social justice, investing in the poor and creating employment for the youths. Other related policies include the N-Power Scheme, Trader Moni Scheme, School Feeding Programme, and Conditional Cash Transfer. We shall even do more in the coming years.
This government remains committed to the welfare of all Nigerians and clearly demonstrated this by the prompt and proactive measures made to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians affected by the recent flooding in some parts of the country.
“We shall not allow few evil forces in our midst whose only agenda to attain political power is by inciting hate and intolerance among the citizens. They exploit and manipulate the fault lines in the society to destroy our collective peace, mutual coexistence and social harmony, thinking that they will change the narrative; and the people would not ask them to account for what they looted from the common wealth.
“As we prepare for the forthcoming elections in 2019, Nigerians are once again enjoined to exercise their civic obligation as stakeholders in our development project. We, as a government, also wish to reiterate our commitment to ensuring that the elections are free, fair and credible as part of measures to deepen our democracy.