The Presidency on Saturday raised the hopes of Nigerians in the New Year with a pledge to ensure major facelifts in power, rail and roads, based on the present administration’s investment in infrastructure.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said this in a statement.
Adesina listed some of the achievements of the present administration in the outgoing year and concluded that President Muhammadu Buhari had done well.
“President Buhari’s investment in infrastructure will see major facelifts across the country in power, rail and roads, which have been scheduled to come on stream in 2018,” Adesina said.
The presidential spokesman said it was appropriate to, at the twilight of 2017 and at the threshold of a New Year, recount some key achievements of the administration in the outgoing year.
He said despite global economic challenges and the initial outlook of slow, or unlikely, recovery, the Nigerian economy trumped predictions and witnessed some remarkable changes in 2017.
He listed the changes to include Nigeria’s exit from what he called the worst recession in decades and a gradual stabilisation of the naira.
“In our review of the economy, based on facts and figures from the National Bureau of Statistics, we are pleased to note that the economy has been on the path of steady growth since the second quarter, after contracting for five consecutive quarters.
“President Buhari is hopeful that the exit from recession, stabilisation of the naira and robust harvest in the agricultural sector will continue to impact on the livelihood of Nigerians,” he said.
Adesina noted that multilateral institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund had projected higher growth for the economy in 2018.
He said the government was hopeful that the gains of 2017 in agriculture would be further improved.
“The price of a 50kg bag of rice – a staple in our country – has fallen by about 30 per cent since the beginning of 2017, as local production continues to rise. The price will keep falling, as production consistently rises.
“The Food and Agriculture Organisation said the number of Nigerians facing food insecurity in the North-East dropped by half this year,” he said.
Adesina said, against all odds, 2017 turned out to be the year of Nigeria’s agriculture revolution, embodied by the successes of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative and the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
He added that inflation rate fell for 10 consecutive months in 2017, February to November, with the Central Bank of Nigeria projecting that it is likely going to drop to a single digit by 2018.
The presidential spokesman added, “The Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme rolled out across the states and currently 5.2 million primary school children in 28,249 schools in 19 states are being fed daily, while 200,000 unemployed graduates were enlisted into the N-Power Job Scheme.
“In the power sector, the Federal Government launched a N701bn Intervention Fund (Payment Assurance Programme) aimed at supporting power-generating companies to meet their payment obligations to gas and equipment suppliers, banks and other partners.
“The impact is already being felt as the amount of power distribution is now steady at around 4,000MW.”
He added that Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves grew by $12bn, reaching the highest level since 2014.
According to him, Nigeria also added an extra $250m to its Sovereign Wealth Fund in 2017.
Adesina said, “By March 2018, the Federal Government’s launch of a Tax Amnesty Scheme is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenues for investment in the country.”