We Have Done Well, Lai Mohammed Tells Obasanjo

We Have Done Well, Lai Mohammed Tells Obasanjo
January 24 17:38 2018 Print This Article

The Nigerian Government, on Wednesday told former President Olusegun Obasanjo that they have done well in managing the affairs of Nigeria.

The former President, on Tuesday lambasted the government of President Buhari saying it has failed Nigerian in three key areas: poor handling of the economy, corruption and security.

Reacting to Obasanjo’s scathing criticism of the Buhari government, on Tuesday, minister of information and culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed said that Obasajo may have been too busy to notice the massive progress made by the Buhari government in key areas of the economy.

Addressing State House correspondents, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Mohammed said, contrary to Obasanjo’s negative appraisal of the government, the Buhari’s administration has done well in the areas of economy, job creation, agriculture, the fight against corruption, insecurity and infrastructure development.

According to him “We have no doubt that in the face of massive challenges in this area,
this administration has availed itself creditably. We believe that
Chief Obasanjo, because of his very busy schedule, may not have been
fully availed of developments in the government’s efforts to revamp
the economy, which was battered by the consequences of over-dependence on a commodity as well as unprecedented pillaging of the treasury”.

He maintained that for the effort of the All Progressive Congresses (APC) led government, Nigeria would have still been in recession adding that “today, most of the indices by which an economy is measured are looking
up. Permit me to say, however, that Nigeria would not have exited
recession through a mere order or if the Administration had not made
use of ”good Nigerians” who could help. This Administration is making steady progress in its determined effort to revamp the economy, and the results are showing”.

The minister said the government has taken the bull by the horn despite the nation’s challenges and limited resources stressing that “this administration is not unaware of the enormity of the challenges
facing the nation, but we are up to the task. We have taken the bull
by the horns, and long-suffering Nigerians will begin to experience a
new lease of life as our efforts yield fruits. We will not go into a
state of funk for whatever reason”.

Mohammed said the question of seeking a reereelection in 2019 is presently a distration for President Buhari as the President is concerned with the massive development of the country.

He said “it is true that many Nigerians have been calling on the President to run again, while others are opposed to his return. However, we believe this issue is a distraction for the President at this time. This is because Mr. President spends every waking hours tackling the enormous challenges facing the nation, most of which were bequeathed to his Administration by successive past Administrations. He is committed to fulfilling the mandate given to him by Nigerians in 2015. And that’s where we are right now”!

The minister said the Federal Government has no reason to believe that Obasanjo “has any motive beyond the well-being of the nation in issuing his Special Press Statement. We have also taken his admonition in good faith, and we thank him most sincerely for taking time off his busy schedule to pen such a long statement”.

Full text of the statement below

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI
MOHAMMED, ON WEDNESDAY, 24 JAN. 2018

We have read the press statement by former President Olusegun Obasanjo
on the State of the Nation.

For the record, Chief Obasanjo is a patriot, and he has proven this
time and time again. We appreciate what he said concerning the
Administration’s performance in two out of the three key issues that
formed the plank of its campaign: Fighting corruption and tackling
insurgency. Specifically, the former President said President Buhari
must be given credit for his achievement so far in these two areas. We
thank him for this.

Apparently, the former President believes that the Administration does
not deserve a pass mark in the area of the economy, which is the third
of our three-pronged campaign promises.

We have no doubt that in the face of massive challenges in this area,
this Administration has availed itself creditably. We believe that
Chief Obasanjo, because of his very busy schedule, may not have been
fully availed of developments in the government’s efforts to revamp
the economy, which was battered by the consequences of over-dependence
on a commodity as well as unprecedented pillaging of the treasury.

Today, most of the indices by which an economy is measured are looking
up. Permit me to say, however, that Nigeria would not have exited
recession through a mere order or if the Administration had not made
use of ”good Nigerians” who could help.

This Administration is making steady progress in its determined effort
to revamp the economy, and the results are showing:

* Foreign Reserves have peaked at $40b, the highest level in about
four years, and up from $24 billion just a year ago, even though when
we came in, the price of oil had crashed woefully.

* According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBC), headline
inflation has fallen for 11 consecutive months, standing at 15.37% as
at Dec. 2017. This is the lowest inflation rate since Jan 2017, and it
has met and surpassed the target set for inflation in the
Administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

* Our determined implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA)
has stopped the hemorrhaging of the treasury. Some 108 billion Naira
has been saved from removal of maintenance fees payable to banks,
pre-TSA. The nation is being saved 24.7 billion Naira monthly with the
full implementation of the TSA.

* The elimination of ghost workers has saved the nation 120 billion Naira

* At about 1.8 billion dollars, the capital inflows in the second
quarter of 2017 were almost double the $908 million in the first
quarter.

* In the wake of a stable Naira and increased investment inflows,
Nigeria’s stock market emerged one of the best-performing in the
world, delivering returns in excess of 40 percent.

* Nigeria rose 24 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business
ranking, and earned a place on the List of Top 10 Reformers in the
world.

* According to Q3 2017 figures, agriculture export is up year-on-year
by 25%, solid minerals exports are up year-on-year by 78%, raw
materials exports are up 70% year-on-year and manufactured goods
exports are up 22% year-on-year.

* Government agencies such as the Nigeria Customs Service are
reporting highest-ever revenue collection, while JAMB, under the new
management appointed by President Buhari in 2016, remitted N7.8
billion to the coffers of the federal government. The total amount
remitted by JAMB between 2010 and 2016 was a paltry N51 million!

These positive indices may not have immediately impacted positively on
Nigerians, but Nigerians will definitely get a new lease of life a
short while from now. This is because the good news from the
agricultural sector, which is recording a bumper harvest, will bring
down the cost of foodstuffs, especially such staple as rice, and our
massive Social Investment Programme will ease the pain of the most
vulnerable in the society.

When we assumed office in 2015, some 6 million farmers were involved
in rice production. Thanks to the Anchor Borrowers’ programme of this
Administration, we have grown that number to over 12 million farmers.
The result is that our rice import from Thailand alone has dropped
from 644 metric tonnes to 22,000 MT in just two years. This is
phenomenal.

Apart from rice, Nigeria is also doing well in other grains,
especially Millet, Sorghum and Maize. We are now the second largest
producer of sorghum after the US, the third in millet after India and
our breweries are now enjoying local sourcing of those commodities.

For maize, we are producing 10 million tons while we need about 13
million tons for both human and animal nutrition. Nigeria leads the
world in the yam and cassava production. We account for 70% of the
world’s yam production. In two years, we hope to be the world’s
largest exporter of yam! Overall, our ambition is that agriculture
should rise from 25% to 40% of GDP, so that we can banish poverty and
overcome our economic anxiety.

Our Social Investment Programme is Nigeria’s most ambitious social
welfare programme ever. Currently, 5.2 million primary school children
in 28,249 schools in 19 states are being fed daily; 200,000 unemployed
graduates have enlisted into the N-power Job Scheme, and a quarter of
a million loans already distributed to artisans, traders, and farmers.

Finally, our investment in infrastructure is simply unprecedented.
This is because infrastructure is key to faster economic growth and
development.

Here is a synopsis of what we have done in this area:

* Power Generation at an all-time high of 7,000mw and all can be transmitted

* RAIL: Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge is on. Lagos-Ibadan sector ready
2019, Kano-Kaduna ready 2019; The entire stretch ready 2021;
Negotiations on for Coastal Rail covering 15 cities from Lagos to
Calabar.

* ROAD: 25 major highways being funded with the N100b Sukuk Bond, and
all geo-political zones are benefitting equally

This Administration is not unaware of the enormity of the challenges
facing the nation, but we are up to the task. We have taken the bull
by the horns, and long-suffering Nigerians will begin to experience a
new lease of life as our efforts yield fruits. We will not go into a
state of funk for whatever reason.

On the Herders/Farmers’ clashes, this Administration is determined to
end the crisis resulting from this once and for all, not minding that
fact that the clashes predate us. I will urge Nigerians to have faith
in the Administration’s ability to resolve the crisis, and to watch
out for concrete measures in this regard.

On whether or not President Muhammadu Buhari should run for another
term, it is true that many Nigerians have been calling on the
President to run again, while others are opposed to his return.
However, we believe this issue is a distraction for the President at
this time. This is because Mr. President spends every waking hours
tackling the enormous challenges facing the nation, most of which were
bequeathed to his Administration by successive past Administrations.
He is committed to fulfilling the mandate given to him by Nigerians in
2015. And that’s where we are right now!

Finally, we have no reason to believe that former President Obasanjo
has any motive beyond the well-being of the nation in issuing his
Special Press Statement. We have also taken his admonition in good
faith, and we thank him most sincerely for taking time off his busy
schedule to pen such a long statement.

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