‘Buhari is fulfilling his campaign promises’ - The No.1 Infotainment blog

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The No.1 Infotainment blog

Friday, 26 January 2018

‘Buhari is fulfilling his campaign promises’

Buhari Lai mohammed FG

Information and Culture Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed spoke with reporters in Lagos on the achievements and constraints of the Buhari administration in the last two and half years and its priorities as it enters the last lap of its first tenure.
Has your party fulfilled its electoral promises to the people?
We were very categorical that we were going to address three areas of governance: we are going to fight corruption, we are going to fight insecurity and we are going to revamp the economy.
I can say with all sense of modesty that we can beat our chest that we have delivered in all those areas.
On the economy, a former CBN Deputy Governor, Prof. Moghalu, disagreed with your government’s claim that we have exited recession…
I would rather work on the figure of the National Bureau of Statistics because their indexes and parameters  for the country show that we are out of recession. Clearly even as recently as last week, the NBS came out that for the 11th month we have been able to hold down inflation, that inflation today is 15.37 per cent. This has been happening since January 2017. All indication shows that not only have we exited recession, but that we are making a lot of gains in all the parameters either in the areas of foreign reserves or foreign investment or in the area of inflation or job creation. Whatever Mr Moghalu has said  would run against the current of the figures that had been produced by the NBS which is the best body today that can tell us whether we are out of recession or not. It is the same body that told us we were in recession is the same body that said we are out of recession. So far, they are yet to tell us we have slipped back to recession.
You have done so much in the fight against Boko Haram. However, it appears that the insurgents have regrouped while Fulani herdsmen-farmers clashes also threatened the security of the nation…
Security is an issue that every nation at one point in time will have to contend with. I am happy you have acknowledged that we are making progress fighting  insecurity in the country. The herdsmen farmers clash was not invented by this government. It actually predates this government. If you go back to history, it dates bak to independence. But am assuring you that this government is determined to resolve the issue. This government is determined to take speific steps to find a definite end to this issue. It is abount containment, it is about accommodation and it is about understanding. There must be farmers, there must be herdsmen. They must live together. We are determined as a government that shedding of the blood of just one person is too much. It is not about number, it is about the fact that we put a price to human’s life. Am glad that already things are being put in place, such as the committee headed by the Vice President to find long time solution to herdsmen-farmers clashes.
There is the claim that the attacks were not perpetuated by herdsmen, but by foreign Fulani bandits. Are the security agencies so weak that they cannot fish out these bandits and stop them from entering this country?
Without going into the details, it is a very complex issue . You talked about bandits, what about the militias that ware funded and sponsored by the late Ghadafi around the same area? As a government we have resolved to find a lasting solution to it. Whether they are bandits or marauders or militias sponsored by the late Ghadafi, what is important for us as a government is to ensure that the shedding of blood whether of the farmers or herdsmen is brought to an end.
There are queues all  over. Fuel scarcity is back. Why? Are we also paying subsidy on fuel?
The fuel situation is much better than it was before now. As for subsidy, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources has said a lot of about subsidy.
One of the ardent supporters of this administration, Pastor Tunde Bakare, said that the government has failed in the three areas you mentioned earlier.  How do you counter that?
We are very confident. We don’t have any apologies for our success. Our success is out there. At the beginning of this conversation, I said there were many indexes with which you can measure whether a country is improving economically or not. Am glad to say that not only have grown our foreign reserves from $23billion to $40 billion despite the fact that for the larger part of the time oil sold for $30pb. This is the highest since 2014. This clearly does not indicate failure on the part of the government. Again, NBS said headline inflation has fallen for 11 consecutive months. It is now at 15.37 per ent as at December 2017. The target we set for our selves by the ERGP for inflation has been met and surpassed. You can’t talk about failure. Then the TSA has stopped hemoraging, sine we came in, from the treasury. We were even able to eliminate ghost workers and that has saved us over N120 billion. We have been able to save about N108 billion from the removal of maintenance fees payable to banks pre-TSA because we pay directly. We have saved N24.7billion monthly through determined implementation of TSA.
You talked about jobs. What  jobs are talking about? In agriculture, we have created an extra 6.2 million jobs. From 6 million jobs two and a half years jobs, today we have about 12. 2 million jobs in agricultural sector alone. How can anyone claim that we have not succeeded in creating jobs?
Our strategy in the area of encouraging local production of rice has worked. From 64,000 metric tonnes a year two and half a years ago, today we import less than 20,000 metric tonnes. You can imagine the kinds of saving that would bring to government. In the area of infrastructure, we also have good news. Power today is at an all high of 7000 megawatts and we are also able to transmit 7000 megawatts. In the area of distribution, we dsitibute over 5000 megawatts today and the exta 2000 megawatts which we can not distribute we are trying to get willing buyers for these megawatts. Still on the infrastrcuture, the Lagos-Kano modern gauge is on course. We are very optmistic that by 2019 Lagos-Ibadan axis of it will be commissioned while the Kano-Kaduna modern gauge will also be ready by 2019. The coastal rail which will link 15 cities is also  being worked upon and we are hoping that by the year 2021 the entire, mostly the coastal rail and the mordern gauage will be completed. On roads, contracts had been awarded for 25 major highways at the cost of N100 billion. Every geo-political zone of the country is included in this transformation of road infrastructure. These are things that the opposition does not want to hear. These facts are out there for anybody to go and verify.
Again on security, we know we are winning the war….
What are the things you think Nigerians can trust you with, given the seeming determination of the PDP to regain power?
I think it will be tragedy for this country for the PDP to come back because they have not even apologised to the nation for how they destroyed our economy, destroyed our infrastructure, destroyed our qualities. They have not told us how they will do things differently from what they did to get us here.
Apart from that, I think that our achievements will speak volumes for us. I have just told you, we can come out and beat our chests that met an economy that was collapsing completely, and we revived it. We met external reserve of $23 or so billion dollars, and we grew it to $40 billion. We created over six million jobs in the agricultural sector and we have been able to bring down inflation for 11 months consecutively. We have things to tell the world that we have done. We have taken on 25 major highways at the cost of 100 billion naira and as time goes on some of these projects are being completed and you will begin to see a lot of difference.
There are a few things you promised to do which you have not done, one is that you promised us to stop fuel importation, you promised that you are going to revive our refineries and even recently after forming government, you even talked about ..modular refineries, all these things have not come on board,
You see all these things are not things that you just pick on the shelf. They are things that require planning, require procedures, but I can assure you that everything we promised, everything is being undertaken at one level or the other of implementation.

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