NIGERIANS have been urged to count the blessings that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had brought to the country’s economy rather than listening to voices of critics with selfish ambitions.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, stated this in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday.
According to him, the Federal Government is still working hard to ensure that every citizen can feel the change for which they massively voted in 2015.
“We are only saying that we must learn to pause and count our blessings.
“The loud voices of critics with selfish ambitions and ulterior motives should not be a veil that keeps Nigerians blind to the many ways God has blessed us and improved our lot through the Buhari administration,” he said
The presidential aide, who listed the achievements of the Buhari administration in the last three years, recalled that in 2017, the World Bank had ranked Nigeria among the top 10 reforming economies in the world.
He said that this was clearly in recognition of the thorough and rigorous growth and development-oriented economic policies of the administration.
“Today, investors and business men and women from around the world can arrive in Nigeria and get their visas right at the airport without any hassle.
“This is just one of the many reasons why Nigeria has advanced 24 steps in the global ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings of the World Bank.
“The government is spending more on infrastructure than previous administrations, despite earning barely half of what the country earned from oil between 2011 and 2014 when the product was selling for an average of $110 per barrel.
“The latest GDP figures show continuos growth after the Buhari administration successfully brought the country out of recession, with virtually all sectors of the economy now on the rebound, and significant progress recorded in agriculture,’’ he added.
Shehu disclosed that the Buhari administration had also ushered in significant progress in agriculture, where output had risen in local production, saying “Nigeria is now importing 80-90 per cent less rice than in previous years.’’
He also noted that fertiliser plants had been resuscitated with prices of the commodity dropped significantly, adding that more young people were going into agriculture, being able, for the first time, to see farming as a viable endeavour.
“Has anyone heard of the Graduates-in-Agriculture Scheme in several states of the federation, a self-driven, government-assisted programme by which our young men and women are stopping their endless wait for white-collar jobs and creating wealth for themselves and the nation?’’ He asked, rhetorically.
The presidential media aide also observed that power generation and distribution had more than doubled since the inception of the Buhari administration in 2015.
He said: “In his address at the 10th Bola Tinubu Colloquium a week ago, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo reported that the Buhari administration has put in place “an audacious Social Investment Programme to the tune of N500 billion, the largest pro-poor programme in our nation’s history, and the largest social safety net, at least in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“This was despite the fact that by 2015, oil prices fell by over 50 per cent and our production also fell from over 2 million barrels a day to less than 700,000 barrels a day, sometimes even 500,000 barrels in 2016.
“We have seen today the empirical evidence of the successes of this programme, and all of that is evident for us to see and listen to several testimonies and stories.
“200,000 jobs for undergraduates employed under the N-Power programme, 300,000 more waiting to be employed; they have been pre-selected; over 7 million children being fed daily in 22 States so far; beneficiaries of micro-credit loans going to about 300,000; and almost 300,000 households benefiting from conditional cash transfers.’’
According to him, in line with campaign promises, the Buhari administration is spending trillions of naira to build railways, roads and ramp up power supplies.
Shehu also quoted the Vice President as saying: “In 2014, when oil was at between 100 dollars and 114 dollars a barrel, the actual releases for capital for three ministries – Power, Works and Housing – then they were three separate ministries, was in total N99 billion; while Transportation got 14 billion, and Agriculture got 15 billion.
“I am talking about actual releases, not budgeted, what they actually got.
“Let us compare that with capital releases to the same ministries in 2017, when oil price was between 50 dollars and 60 dollars per barrel, N415 Billion for Power, Works and Housing, N80 Billion for Transportation; N65 Billion for Agriculture; totalling N560 Billion, in a time when we were earning at least 50% less than we were earning in 2014.’’
The presidential aide, however, cautioned that “these comments should not be misconstrued as denying that there is more that needs to be done, as the current administration is relentless and determined to continue in its task of continuously improving the lot of Nigerians.”