President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that the major projects initiated by his administration will be completed before 2023.
Among the projects slated for completion before the end of the president’s tenure are the 11.9km Second Niger Bridge, 120 km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, 375 km Abuja-Kano Highway and the East-West Road. The projects are being executed under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF).
The president gave the assurance at the opening of a two-day Mid-Term Ministerial Performance Review Retreat organised to assess progress made towards the achievement of the nine key priorities of this administration.
Buhari used the occasion, the third edition since the second term of his administration, to highlight some of the federal government’s achievements in the last two years.
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, listed feats in infrastructure, transportation, economy, electricity supply and the petroleum industry.
He said, ‘‘On transportation, we are growing the stock and quality of our road, rail, air and water transport infrastructure. The PIDF projects are also advancing remarkably. These include the 11.9km Second Niger Bridge, 120 km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, 375 km Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway and the East-West Road. Most of these projects are expected to be completed within this second term of our administration.’’
President Buhari expressed delight that over the past two years, ministers have rendered reports to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on their activities related to the achievement of their “Ministerial Mandates.”
‘‘Some of the achievements include the establishment of InfraCo Plc in 2020, as a world class infrastructure development vehicle, wholly focused on Nigeria, with combined debt and equity take-off capital of N15 trillion, to be managed by an independent infrastructure fund manager.
‘‘The Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund was also established in 2020 with more than $1billion in funding.
‘‘In addition, we have launched the Nigeria Innovation Fund by the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). This is aimed at addressing investment opportunities in the domestic technology sector: data networking, datacenters, software, agric-tech, bio-tech and more,’’ he said.
Furthermore, Buhari said his administration had made tremendous progress on railway projects in the country, noting that upgrading of the railway network is being extended with the recent completion of the Lagos-Ibadan line.
‘‘The Itakpe-Ajaokuta rail line has finally been completed and commissioned after 30 years of its conception. Work is expected to commence very soon on the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri line and Calabar- Lagos Coastal Line to connect the southern and eastern states of our country. Progress is also being made on the upgrading of our airports, with the state-of-the-art facilities in line with world class safety standards,’’ he said.
On the economy, the president said Nigeria witnessed three consecutive quarters of growth, after negative growth rates recorded in the second and third quarters of 2020.
‘‘The GDP grew from 0.8 per cent in 2017 to 2.2 per cent in 2019, but declined in the first quarter of 2020, as a result of the downward trend in global economic activities triggered by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
‘‘As of the second quarter of 2021, GDP growth rate was at 5.01 per cent, the highest since the inception of this Administration.
On security, the president said the Ministry of Defence had been instructed to create a modest military industrial complex for the local production of weapons to meet some of the requirements of the armed forces.
He said the establishment of the industrial complex would address Nigeria’s over-dependence on other countries for military equipment and logistics.
He said the project is being implemented under the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), a military department responsible for arms manufacture.
On other efforts to strengthen national security, the president said it was gratifying to note that Nigeria has received six A-29 Super Tucanos, adding that the propeller-driven aircraft are being used for training, surveillance and attack by the military.
‘‘As part of the efforts towards strengthening our national security, we have increased investments in arms, weapons and other necessary equipment; expanded the National Command and Control Centre to nineteen states of the Federation; and established a Nigerian Police Trust Fund, which will significantly improve funding for the Nigeria Police Force.
‘‘We have also approved the sum of N13.3 billion for the take-off of the community policing initiative across the country, as part of measures adopted to consolidate efforts aimed at enhancing security nationwide,’’ he said.
On the power sector, Buhari said the implementation of a ‘Willing Buyer-Willing Seller’ Policy has opened up opportunities for increased delivery of electricity to underserved homes and industries.
Commenting on the Petroleum Industry Act signed into law on August 16, 2021, the president reiterated his directive to the implementation committee to complete all processes for the successful operationalisation of the Act within 12 months.