Monday, May 29, 2017 10:26 am
The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said on Monday that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had witnessed the fulfillment of promises it made to Nigerians for 2017.
In his message to mark Democracy Day and second anniversary of the administration, Osinbajo noted that the promise was amplified in the 2017 budget where Buhari outlined the Economic Agenda in detail.
“In his Budget Presentation Speech to the National Assembly last December, President Buhari outlined our Economic Agenda in detail.
“He assured that 2017 would be the year in which you would begin to see tangible benefits of all the planning and preparation work.
“It is my pleasure to note that in the five months since he delivered that speech, we have seen tremendous progress as promised.’’
The acting president mentioned the Social Investment Programme, which kicked off at the end of 2016 as a promise fulfilled.
“Its Home Grown School Feeding component is now feeding more than one million primary school children across seven states and would be feeding three million by the end of the year.
“N-Power, another component, has engaged 200,000 unemployed graduates – none of whom needed any ‘connections’ to be selected.
“Beneficiaries are already telling the stories of how these initiatives have given them a fresh start in their lives.”
He said that the micro credit to a million artisans, traders and market men and women as well as the conditional cash transfers, to eventually reach one million of the poorest and most vulnerable households, had begun.
Osinbajo hinted that road and power projects were ongoing in every part of the country.
He also said that in rail, the administration was making progress with plans to attract hundreds of millions of dollars in investment to upgrade the existing 3,500km narrow-gauge network.
“We have also in 2017 flagged-off construction work on the Lagos-Ibadan leg of our standard-gauge network, and are close to completing the first phase of Abuja’s Mass Transit Rail System,’’ he added.
Osinbajo said that Buhari’s promise for the take-off of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative had resulted in the revitalisation of 11 blending plants across the country.
He added that the initiative resulted in the creation of 50,000 direct and indirect jobs so far, and in the production of 300,000 metric tonnes of NPK fertilizer.
He noted that the Initiative was the product of an unprecedented bilateral cooperation with the Government of Morocco and that farmers now bought fertilizer at drastically reduced prices.
“By the end of 2017, that Fertilizer Initiative would have led to foreign exchange savings of 200 million dollars; and subsidy savings of N60 billion.
“The initiative is building on the solid gains of the Anchor Borrowers Programme, launched in 2015 to support our rice and wheat farmers, as part of our move towards guaranteeing food security for Nigeria.
“All of this is evidence that we are taking very seriously our ambition of agricultural self-sufficiency.
“I am delighted to note that since 2015, our imports of rice have dropped by 90 per cent, while domestic production has almost tripled.
“Our goal is to produce enough rice to meet local demand by 2019.’’