Access Bank PLC

Lai Mohammed Fires Back At Obasanjo!

First Bank Nigeria

Twenty-four hours after former President Olusegun Obasanjo penned an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019, the Federal Government has formally replied him.
Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who read a prepared statement to State House Correspondents, at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Buhari, yesterday, said Obasanjo must have been too busy to notice the administration’s efforts at improving an economy that had been battered by over-reliance on oil and unprecedented pillaging of the treasury.
Mohammed commended Obasanjo for giving thumbs-up to the administration’s efforts at fighting corruption and tackling the Boko Haram insurgency.
He also disclosed that the administration has taken the former president’s admonition in good faith, with the belief that he has no other motive beyond the well-being of the country in issuing “such a long statement.”
“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.”
Mohammed said Buhari’s administration is appreciative of Obasanjo’s letter and that it is making steady progress to revamp the economy and the results are already showing.
“Foreign reserves have peaked at $40 billion, 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…. “Our determined implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has stopped the haemorrhaging of the treasury. Some N108 billion has been saved from removal of maintenance fees payable to banks, pre-TSA. The nation is being saved N24.7 billion, monthly with the full implementation of the TSA.The elimination of ghost workers has saved the nation N120 billion. At about $1.8 billion, the capital inflows in the second quarter of 2017 were almost double the $908 million in the first quarter…he said.
Mohammed continues: “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 precent, solid minerals exports are up year-on-year by 78precent, raw materials exports are up 70 precent year-on-year and manufactured goods exports are up 22 precent 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 N51million!
“These positive indices may not have immediately impacted positively on Nigerians but Nigerians will definitely get a new lease on life a short while from now….
“When we assumed office in 2015, some six 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 United States of America, the third in millet after India, and our breweries are now enjoying local sourcing of those commodities.
“For maize, we are producing 10 million tonnes while we need about 13 million tonnes for both human and animal nutrition. Nigeria leads the world in yam and cassava production. We account for 70 precent 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 percent to 40 percent 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 N100 billio 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 on 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 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…is committed to fulfilling the mandate given to him by Nigerians in 2015. And that’s where we are right

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button