From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
On Monday in Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari opened the final Ministerial Performance Review Retreat of this administration by declaring that high-impact projects had been carried out across the nation to satisfy Nigerians’ desires and expectations.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari noted notable success made in the areas of agriculture, economics, infrastructure, security, health, and anti-corruption among others while speaking during a retreat held to assess the degree of progress made in the implementation of his administration’s nine priority agenda.
Over 3,800 kilometers of new roads have been built throughout the nation, he informed retreat attendees and visitors, including the retreat’s keynote speaker and immediate past Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, announcing the acquisition of 38 new aircraft for the Nigerian Air Force to help the country’s military fight insurgency.
Buhari also added that 38.7 million Nigerians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, representing 35 per cent of the total eligible population target for vaccination.
On infrastructure, the President said: “In recognition of the importance of critical infrastructure in economic development and the quest of this Administration to leave a lasting legacy, we have implemented high-impact projects across the length and breadth of the country that meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.
“Some of the notable achievements include the completion of 326km Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line and railway ancillary facilities; the completion of over 156.5km Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway modernization project with extension to Lagos Port, Apapa.
“On road projects, this Administration has constructed 408Km of roads; 2,499Km of SUKUK roads and maintenance of 15,961Km of roads across the Country.
“Key among these projects are the construction of 1.9km 2nd Niger Bridge linking Anambra and Delta States with 10.30km approach road; rehabilitation, construction and expansion of Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan dual carriageway; the ongoing rehabilitation of Abuja-Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Road, among others.”
President Buhari, while stressing that the Federal Government under his watch has sustained commitment to infrastructural development for the past 7 years, President Buhari said over 941km of completed SUKUK road projects nationwide have been handed over.
He added that, the Federal Government has embarked on the reconstruction of 21 selected Federal Roads totaling 1,804.6km, under the Road Infrastructure Development & Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Policy.
He explained that the roads, which are funded by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, are in addition to similar existing collaboration with Messrs Dangote Industries Limited and other corporate organisations to improve the stock of the country’s road infrastructure.
Regarding aviation, he guaranteed that work on establishing a National Carrier for Nigeria is 91 percent complete and that flying operations are anticipated to start before the end of the year.
Buhari said the feat is being boosted with the certification of Lagos and Abuja International Airports by the International Civil Aviation Organization, while Kano and Port Harcourt Airports are undergoing similar certification processes.
On the economy, he restated that the country had witnessed seven consecutive quarters of growth, after negative growth rates recorded in the 2nd and 3rd Quarters of 2020.
“The GDP grew by 3.54% (year-on-year) in real terms in the 2nd Quarter of 2022. This growth rate represents a sustained positive economic performance, especially for the Non-Oil GDP which fell by 4.77% in Q2 2022 against Oil GDP that grew by -11.77%.
“Most sectors of the economy recorded positive growth which reflects the effective implementation of the economic sustainability measures introduced by this Administration,” he said.
On the Communications and Digital Economy Sector, Buhari noted that giant strides have been made through broadband coverage which currently stands at 44.32%, reinforced by 77.52% 4G coverage with the establishment of 36,751 4G base stations nationwide.
Similarly, the President declared that the Power Sector has remained a critical priority for the Administration, adding that the implementation of a ‘Willing Buyer-Willing Seller’ policy introduced by the Federal Government has opened up opportunities for increased delivery of electricity to underserved homes and industries.
“We are also executing a number of critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme, which will result in achieving the national goal of improved power supply by 2025.
“It is important to state that the partnership between the Federal Government of Nigeria and German Siemens AG through the Presidential Power Initiative to increase electricity generation to 25,000 Megawatts (MW) in six years is on course, as the first batch of the transformers has arrived Nigeria already.”
On the oil and gas sector, he recalled that on 16th August 2021, he signed the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) into law, providing a legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, as well as the development of host communities and related matters.
He noted that to achieve the objectives of the PIA, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation was unbundled while the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority were established.
The President stated that his administration has significantly invested in armaments, munitions, and other essential military gear, as well as ongoing training for the armed forces, in efforts to bolster national security.
“The Nigerian Air Force has acquired 38 brand-new aircraft and is expecting another batch of 36 new ones, while the Nigerian Navy has been equipped with new platforms, sophisticated riverine, Rigid-Hull Inflatable, Seaward Defence, Whaler & Fast Attack Boats as well as Helicopters and Capital Ships.
“To boost the number of our Police personnel, 20,000 policemen have been recruited, trained, fully integrated and deployed in 2020 and 2021. This exercise has strengthened our community policing strategy which is enshrined in the Police Act, 2020.”
On the fight against corruption, the President promised that the administration would continue to review and prosecute high-profile corruption cases and ensure speedy completion.
Concerning Social Investment Programmes, Buhari said 9,990,862 pupils are being fed through the School Feeding Programme, which employs 128,531 cooks in local communities.
“Following the passage of the National Health Act in 2014, this Administration began the inclusion of the 1% minimum portion of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to cater for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).
“Consequently, 988,652 poor and indigent Nigerians have been enrolled in the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).
“We should also note that a total of 7,373 primary health facilities have been accredited and capitated under the National Health Insurance Scheme pathway, while 7,242 Primary Health Care facilities are receiving Decentralized Facility Financing under the National Primary Health Care Development Agency – Basic Health Care Provision Fund gateway,” the President said on milestones in the health sector.
President Buhari also lauded Nigeria’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, noting that the country’s achievement has been commended by the World Health Organisation.
He said at the end of September 2022, 51,713,575 eligible people had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, representing 46.3% of the eligible population.
“Out of this number, 38,765,510 people have been fully vaccinated, and this represents 34.7% of the eligible population.
President Buhari urged all eligible Nigerians to ensure that they are fully vaccinated as Nigeria’s vaccine stock balance stands at about 27 million doses.
On agriculture, he expressed delight that as a direct result of investment, the sector has experienced significant growth.
“The shortfall in food production and food importation bills have both been reduced significantly. Along with the production of other staple crops, we have reached our goal of self-sufficiency in rice production.
“We are exerting a lot of effort to solve the problem of the rising cost of food that is related to inflation, being a global crisis.”
President Buhari directed Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and all Heads of Agencies to reinvigorate their efforts in ramping-up delivery of flagship programmes and projects contained in their Ministerial Mandates.
He acknowledged the efforts of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and his team in sustaining the Annual Performance Review Retreats, adding that this has enabled the cabinet to maintain focus on the nine-point Agenda and more importantly, providing solid evidence that supports the achievements.
“I am also proud to see that our Administration is staying true to our commitment to the Open Government Partnership initiative which I signed up in 2017. In this regard, the Presidential Delivery Tracker was launched on 30th August 2022, which is a clear testament to this Administration’s commitment to participatory governance.
“As part of efforts to strengthen performance management culture, the Central Delivery Coordination Unit is being institutionalised.
“As an initiative of this Administration, I am delighted to bequeath this legacy to my successor as part of the mechanisms that will assist the next Administration in delivering on its promises to the Nigerian people,” he said.
Setting the context for the two-day meeting, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said the retreat has been structured into three main focus areas.
“First is an overview of ministerial performance within the last three years of the administration, presenting key achievements and identifying opportunities for improvement.
“Second will reflect on lessons and good practices from the Kenyan presidential delivery unit while the third is ways to accelerate the delivery of flagship projects and programmes of the Buhari administration before the end of the tenure in May 2023.”
Mustapha announced that President Buhari would sign an Executive Order on Improving Performance Management, Coordination and Implementation of Presidential Priorities of the Federal Government of Nigeria at the end of the 3rd Ministerial Performance Review Retreat.
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, Speaker of the House Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and Senate President Ahmed Lawan delivered goodwill messages at the Retreat.