As the 2023 general elections approach, with the development signalling, more than any other pointer, the end of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, we decide, this week, to take stock of the administration’s activities in the fast outgoing year of 2022.
The administration has implemented many meaningful and impactful projects across the length and breadth of the country that have met the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians, in recognition of the importance of infrastructure in economic development.
Of course, in doing that, the administration’s interventions in, especially, the areas of infrastructure, power, digital economy, ease of doing business and social investment, can be termed as some of its game-changing accomplishments.
Some other game-changing achievements of the administration include:
Development of infrastructure
The administration built roads and bridges across the length and breadth of the country that includes the Second Niger Bridge and Owetu Bridge, in Loko, Nasarawa state.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, recently, said that despite the shortfall in the federal government’s revenue, arising from weakness in the global economy that led to a drop in oil revenue, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has been able to construct and complete over 8,352.94 kilometres of roads and created no fewer than 339,955 jobs.
The minister also stated that the rehabilitation of 12 major roads has led to a reduction of travel time by 56.20 per cent and added value to the people in the communities, where the roads pass through.
The President also approved the release of N80 billion for the reconstruction of the Sapele-Benin road and Amukpe-Agbor-Uromi roads.
In the housing sector, the administration built a total of 2,864 units in 35 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and created 29,030 direct and 57,874 indirect jobs in the process.
From rail to power and broadband infrastructure, especially the creativity introduced to infrastructure financing, the administration has recorded significant milestones.
In the power sector, there are some interventions and initiatives such as the Solar Naija Programme launched under the Economic Sustainability Plan; improvement in generating capacity; 266 captive power plants and 16 embedded power plants; an incremental 4,000MW+ of power generating assets will be completed during the life of the Buhari-led Administration, including the Zungeru Hydro, Kashimbila Hydro, Afam III Fast Power, Kudenda Kaduna Power Plant, the Okpai Phase 2 Plant, and the Dangote Refinery Power Plant.
Others are the Energising Education Programme which is taking clean and reliable energy (Solar and Gas) to Federal Universities and Teaching Hospitals across the country with projects in four Universities completed and commissioned already. They are: BUK (Kano), FUNAI (Ebonyi), ATBU (Bauchi) and FUPRE (Delta).
There is, also, the Energising Economies Programme: Taking clean and reliable energy (Solar and Gas) to markets across the country. Completed projects include Sabon-Gari Market in Kano, Ariaria Market in Aba, and Sura Shopping Complex in Lagos.
Energising Agriculture Programme, launched in May 2022, to catalyse economic development and improve rural livelihoods in Nigeria through exploring the nexus between mini-grids and agricultural productivity, all undertaken by the Buhari-led Administration.
The Buhari administration recognised the role of transportation in the socio-economic development process and identified it as the fourth of the nine priority areas of the administration.
The administration has made giant strides in bridging the infrastructural deficit in the transportation sector. This includes the railway modernisation programme, the deep sea ports development programme, the inland dry port initiative, job creation, and the introduction of favourable policies to mention but a few.
In the field of education, the administration has committed more than N2 trillion of capital intervention to the country’s tertiary institutions, through various means, including the Tertiary Education Fund (TETFund) – with the universities taking the lion’s share of the total amount.
The administration has disbursed more than N240 billion in UBE matching grants to states and the FCT and N24 billion from the Teachers Professional Development Fund (TPDF) to states and the FCT. It also launched the Alternate School Programme (ASP) designed to ensure that every out-of-school child in Nigeria gains access to quality basic education, irrespective of social, cultural or economic circumstances, in line with the aspirations of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG-4).
Innovations in this area are a rapid expansion of broadband access and digital identity and Ease of Doing Business Reforms, which include legislative and justice sector reforms.
The President established the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in July 2016, under the Chairmanship of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to drive reforms to eliminate critical bottlenecks and bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria.
For the first-ever, the Buhari administration instituted a coordinated effort in implementing reforms to improve the business environment with the National Economic Council (NEC) unanimously approving the replication of PEBEC’s intervention structure at the subnational level implemented through the PEBEC-NEC Technical Working Group. This mandate was later articulated in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 and subsequently retained in the National Development Plan (NDP) 2021-2025.
The Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES) is the operational unit of the PEBEC and collaborates with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the private sector and other stakeholders at national and subnational levels to articulate and implement reforms.
PEBEC has, working with the public and private sectors, recorded notable achievements, including moving Nigeria 39 places up the World Bank Doing Business ranking from 170 to 131.
Under the President, Nigeria has seen the most ambitious legislative programme in its history. Several landmark bills have been passed or amended in the last seven years, including the following: Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2022; Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, which repeals the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended, and provides a comprehensive legal and Institutional Framework for the prevention and prohibition of money laundering in Nigeria, while also conferring on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the legal status of the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering.
There is also the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, which repeals the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 as amended in 2013.
Oil and gas
The President’s assent to the Petroleum Industry Act on August 16, 2021, broke a two-decades-old jinx and set the stage for the unprecedented transformation of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
Under the new Act, the NNPC has transformed into a Limited Liability Company that was formally unveiled by the President in July 2022.
The regulatory framework for the sector has also changed, with the establishment of (a) the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), and (b) the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), which merged the hitherto-existing Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Management) Board (PEFMB), and the Midstream and Downstream Divisions of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
A historic Signing Ceremony of the Execution of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 118 Agreements between NNPC Limited and its Contractor Partners: Shell, Exxon Mobil, TOTAL took place this year.
These agreements settled long-standing disputes that stalled development and will unlock more than $10 billion of new deep-water investment in Nigeria.
The Buhari administration has declared this decade the “Decade of Gas.”
Thus, the administration is constructing the 614 km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas Project, the largest domestic gas project in the country.
Of course, the successful completion of Nigeria’s first Marginal Field Bid Round, in almost 20 years, is expected to raise more than half a billion dollars and open up a new vista of investment in oil and gas.
Again, Nigeria and Morocco have signed an agreement to develop a US$1.4 billion multipurpose industrial platform (Ammonia and Di-Ammonium Phosphate production plants) that will utilise Nigerian gas and Moroccan phosphate to produce 750,000 tonnes of ammonia and one million tonnes of phosphate fertilisers, annually, from 2025.
The President has commissioned the new NPDC Integrated Gas Handling Facility in Edo State, the largest onshore LPG plant in the country, with a processing capacity of 100 million standard cubic feet of gas daily, producing 330 tonnes of LPG, 345 tonnes of propane and 2,600 barrels of condensate, daily.
The administration, similarly, established a $350 million Nigerian Content Intervention Fund to finance manufacturing, contracts and assets in the oil and gas industry.
The NNPC Limited’s National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) became, in 2022, the first Government organisation in West and North Africa to receive the ISO 22301:2019 Certification for Business Continuity Management from RINA.
Oil in the North
President Muhammadu Buhari, in November, flagged off the first crude oil drilling project in northern Nigeria, on the boundary of Bauchi and Gombe States.
The NNPC had in October 2019 announced the discovery of hydrocarbon deposits in the Kolmani River II Well on the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin, in the Northeastern part of the country.
The commercial quantity discovery was the first in the region after several crude oil explorations in the Upper Benue Trough.
The oilfield will be developed by Sterling Global Oil, New Nigeria Development Commission (NNDC) and NNPC Limited.
Commitment to free, fair polls
The President has repeatedly reiterated his commitment to ensuring that the forthcoming general elections are free, fair and credible, stressing that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has no reason not to conduct free, fair and credible polls in 2023. The President said that he has approved all that was requested by the electoral umpire.
“INEC is ready because I made sure they were given all the resources they asked for because I don’t want any excuses that they were denied funds by the government,” the President said.