#DemocracyDay2017: FG Admits Failure
The Federal Government of Nigeria, on Monday, during the 2017 #DemocracyDay, admitted to the fact that it has failed the nation.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this in his #DemocracyDay speech which also marked the second anniversary of the Buhari administration, saying that the biggest challenge faced by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has been the economy.
“Admittedly, the economy has proven to be the biggest challenge of all,” the Acting President said, noting that it was a challenge the administration took seriously, considering the impact the recession was having on Nigerians.
More so, the economy along with security and corruption were the three specific areas the administration concluded required immediate intervention.
Of the impact the economic challenges had on Nigerian, Osinbajo said, “Through no fault of theirs, some companies shut down their operations, others downsized; people lost jobs, had to endure rising food prices.
“In some states, civil servants worked months on end without the guarantee of a salary, even as rents and school fees and other expenses continued to show up like clockwork.”
The Acting President, who noted that the Federal Government has been extremely mindful of the many sacrifices that Nigerians have had to make over the last few years, however, said the government was on the right path to turn things around for the better.
According to him, the administration’s work on the economic front has been targeted at a combination of short-term interventions to cushion the pain, as well as medium to long-term efforts aimed at rebuilding an economy that is no longer helplessly dependent on the price of crude oil.
He listed the interventions to include a series of bailout packages for state governments – to enable them to bridge their salary shortfalls, as well as the Social Intervention Programme, which he described as the most ambitious in the history of the country.
Highlighting the impact of the Social Investment Programme, which kicked off at the end of 2016, Osinbajo said, “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.”
Other projects, according to him, include giving micro-credit to a million artisans, traders and market men and women; the execution of road and power projects; and presidential initiative on fertiliser.
“By the end of 2017, that Fertilizer Initiative would have led to foreign exchange savings of US$200 million; and subsidy savings of N60 billion,” he said.
Osinbajo explained that the Federal Governments ambition of agricultural self-sufficiency had yielded positive results, including, for instance, ensuring 90 per cent drop in the importation of rice since 2015.
To further strengthen the economic gains, he said President Buhari launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which built on the foundations laid by the Strategic Implementation Plan of 2016.
“The plan has set forth a clear vision for the economic development of Nigeria. I will come back to this point presently,” he said.
He added that the administration had also made progress on the President’s promise during the 2017 budget presentation that the government would improve the ease of doing business in the country through reforms.
“As promised we have since followed up with implementation and execution. I am pleased to note that we are now seeing verifiable progress across several areas, ranging from new Visa on Arrival scheme; to reforms at our ports and regulatory agencies,” he said.
“The President also promised that 2017 would see the rollout of Executive Orders to facilitate government approvals, support procurement of locally made goods, and improve fiscal responsibility.
“We have kept that promise. This month we issued three Executive Orders to make it easier for citizens to get the permits and licenses they require for their businesses, to mandate Government agencies to spend more of their budgets on locally produced goods, and to promote budget transparency and efficiency,” he added.
Away from the economy, the Acting President said significant progress had been made in the areas of security and corruption.
For instance, with regards to the Boko Haram insurgency, he said the new leadership had restored confidence in the military and restored the country’s broken-down relationship with its neighbours.
“The positive results are clear for all to see. In the last two years close to one million displaced persons have returned home. 106 of our daughters from Chibok have regained their freedom, after more than two years in captivity, in addition to the thousands of other captives who have since tasted freedom,” Osinbajo said.
“Schools, hospitals and businesses are springing back to life across the Northeast, especially in Borno State, the epicentre of the crisis. Farmers are returning to the farms from which they fled in the wake of Boko Haram. Finally, our people are getting a chance to begin the urgent task of rebuilding their lives.”
In the Niger Delta, the Acting President said the Federal Government’s vision for the oil-rich region had led to improved peace.