In what appeared to be his scorecard as a two-term President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari last week listed what he called high-impact projects implemented across the country by the administration towards meeting the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.
The areas include agriculture, economy, infrastructure, security, health and anti-corruption, among others. He also directing the ministers, permanent secretaries and all heads of agencies to reinvigorate their efforts at ramping-up delivery of flagship programmes and projects contained in their ministerial mandates.
And at the same forum, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo proffered solutions to the dwindling exchange rate of naira to dollars and other foreign currencies. At the inception of the administration May 29, 2015, Blueprint reported that N198 was exchanged for a dollar, while the exchange rate today stands at N736 to a dollar. This, Osinbajo, who rated Buhari high in meeting the people’s yearnings, blamed on lack of synergy between fiscal and monetary policy.
The duo spoke during the administration’s last Ministerial Performance Review Retreat at the State House Abuja, with the immediate Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in attendance. President Buhari said the retreat was organised to evaluate the level of progress made in the implementation of the nine priority agenda of the administration.
He told participants and guests at the retreat that over 3,800 kilometer of roads were constructed across the country, while 38 new aircraft were acquired for the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to boost the fight against insurgency.
The president said so far, 38.7 million Nigerians had 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.”
He also said the federal government had sustained commitment to infrastructural development for the past seven years, pointing out that over 941km of completed SUKUK road projects nationwide have been handed over.
President Buhari also said the federal government embarked on the reconstruction of 21 selected federal roads totaling 1,804.6km, under the road infrastructure development and refurbishment investment tax credit policy.
The roads, the president said, were funded by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited 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.
On aviation, the president said the establishment of a National Carrier for Nigeria was at 91 percent completion, and expected to commence flight operations before the end of this year.
He 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, the president said: “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%.
Describing power as critical priority for the administration, he said the implementation of a ‘Willing Buyer-Willing Seller’ policy introduced by the federal government had opened up opportunities for increased delivery of electricity to underserved homes and industries.
On the efforts toward strengthening national security, the president said his administration had substantially invested in arms, weapons and other critical military hardware as well as continuous training for the Armed Forces.
“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,” he said.
Flowing from the above, Blueprint cannot agree more with Mr President that his near eight-year rule in the country has not been without tremendous impact on infrastructure development and other vital sectors of the economy. It is, however, pertinent to underscore the fact that the Buhari administration achieved these feats amidst the daunting security challenges that have stifled the nation’s development for over a decade.