30 December 2017

Nigeria: Buhari - Expect Major Facelift in Power, Rail, Roads Next Year

President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration's investment in infrastructure will see a major facelift across the country in power, rail and roads which have been scheduled to come on stream in 2018.

Presidential spokesman Mr Femi Adesina said this on Saturday in a statement entitled "Key Achievement of President Buhari's Administration in 2017.

He said despite global economic challenges and initial outlook of slow, or unlikely, recovery, the Nigerian economy trumped predictions and witnessed some remarkable changes in 2017, which include exiting from the worst recession in decades and a gradual stabilization of the naira.

Adesina said based on facts and figures from the National Bureau of Statistics, the Presidency was pleased to note that the economy had been on the path of steady growth since the second quarter after contracting for five consecutive quarters.

According to him, Buhari is hopeful that the exit from recession, stabilization of the naira and robust harvest in the agricultural sector will continue to impact on the livelihood of Nigerians.

He said multilateral institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund had already projected higher growth for the economy in 2018, "and we are hopeful that the gains of 2017 in agriculture will be further improved."

"In the power sector, the Federal Government launched a N701 billion 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.

"Dream turned reality in 2017 when the Federal Government began paying pensions to police officers who were granted Presidential Pardon in the year 2000 after serving in the former Biafran Police during the Nigerian Civil War. These officers, and their next of kin, had waited for their pensions for 17 years since the Presidential Pardon.

"Reforms by the Federal Government to inspire start-ups to cut unemployment saw Nigeria rise 24 places on the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business ranking, earning the country a place on the List of Top 10 Reformers in the world.

"Nigeria's foreign exchange reserves grew by $12 billion, reaching the highest level since 2014. Nigeria also added, this year, an additional $250m to its Sovereign Wealth Fund. Also, Nigeria's trade balance crossed over into surplus territory, from a deficit in 2016.

"To change the narrative on infrastructure deficit, the government successfully issued two Eurobonds (US$4.5bn), a Sukuk Bond (N100 billion), a Diaspora Bond (US$300m), and the first Sovereign Climate Bond in Africa, raising billions of dollars for infrastructure spending.

"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.

"The Federal Government's fight against corruption took a new turn in 2017 as the successful implementation of a Whistleblowing Programme saw millions of dollars recovered.

"The Nigeria Customs Service recorded its highest revenue collection, crossing the One Trillion Naira (N1, 000,000,000, 000) mark; the target for 2017 was 770 billion Naira (N770,573,730,490) and 2016 collection was just under 900 billion (N898,673,857,431.07).

"The Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), under the new management appointed by President Buhari in 2016, remitted N7.8 billion to the coffers of the Federal Government, a staggering distance from the N51 million remitted by JAMB between 2010 and 2016."

Nigeria

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