231 views | Victor Gai | June 12, 2020
•Boasts of achievements in social and economic infrastructure
•Regrets drop in GDP
President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed that Nigeria’s external reserve had witnessed an improvement from $33.42 billion to $36.00 billion. He, however, noted that the country’s GDP had declined by 1.87% lately.
The President disclosed this in a Democracy day speech on Friday.
“In order to stabilize the economy, the Monetary Authority took steps to build the external reserves which resulted in improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market. The external reserves grew from $33.42 billion on April 29th 2020 to about $36.00 billion in May, 2020 which is enough to finance seven months of import commitments.
“We have witnessed eleven quarters of consecutive GDP growth since exiting recession. The GDP grew from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019 but declined to 1.87% in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the decline in global economic activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic”, he regretted.
Buhari also mentioned the administration’s achievements, citing some social and economic infrastructures.
“Through the SUKUK-Funded Road Projects, a total of 412km of the targeted 643km road projects have been completed, representing 64%.
“The Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund projects are also progressing very well. On the 2nd Niger Bridge, piling work has been completed and the approach roads are being constructed. 48% of the work on this bridge has been achieved. We have constructed 102km of the 376km Abuja – Kaduna – Kano Road, representing 38%, and the 42.9km Obajana – Kabba Road is 87.03% complete…the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency has completed routine maintenance on over 4,000km of federal roads out of the 5,000km targeted.
“…The Central Ajaokuta – Itakpe – Warri Line has been completed and is being extended from Itakpe to Abuja on one end and from Warri Town to Warri Port on the other…the Lagos-Ibadan Rail Line is 90% completed and would be extended to the Lagos Port which would help address the long-standing gridlock at the Apapa port”, he stated.
In the housing sector, he said, “our pursuit of affordable housing for the low and middle-income earners has received a boost with the delivery of 1,200 housing units, provision of 520 service plots with infrastructure through a Public-Private Sector partnership and the issuance of 868 mortgages totalling N7.7 Billion. Similarly, Home Renovation Loans totalling N16.2 Billion have been granted to 19,210 people”.
“The Completion of Amauzari, Amla Otukpo and other 42 Earth Dams with combined job creation of about 43,354 direct jobs and 71,172 indirect jobs, would provide more support for irrigation agriculture and water supply”, he added.
According to Buhari, “the government has revived 31 fertilizer blending plants to boost agriculture and that to “protect our farming investments, we have deployed 5,000 Agro-Rangers and employed 30,289 in our para-military agencies”.
“Our revenue from Cocoa and Sesame Seed increased by $79.4 million and $153 million”, he added.
According to the President, “Nigeria has risen by 25 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking from 146th to 131st and is now rated as one of the top ten reforming countries” which is due “the Visa on Arrival policy, consistent promotion of initiatives that expand facilities available to Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, robust electronic registration and payment system, seamless processing of business registration and reduction of cost of registering business by 50%”.