Just a week of controversy concerning President Buhari’s whereabout as stated by the ex British Lawmaker, Eric Joyce which he asked Nigerians “When was the last time you saw your President?” seem all has not been okay and go down well with Nigerians. But Lai Mohammed, Information Minister has boasted of the administration’s achievement.
After exactly two years in the saddle, the federal government, yesterday, boasted that it had rescued Nigeria from predators and set the country on the path of recovery and sustained development.
Besides, the government pointed out that the country would have been much worse but for its strident effort to arrest corruption and plug loopholes exploited by looters in the past to fleece the country.
The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the position of the government in an exclusive interview with Vanguard in Abuja last night.
According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari has shown commitment, determination and courage in delivering on the administration’s key agenda of driving out corruption, terrorism and fixing the economy.
Mohammed said Nigeria would have been much worse, but for the incorruptible, disciplined and forthright leadership provided by President Buhari and blamed a vocal minority in the country who had been comfortable with looting public funds of making noise about the move by the present administration to tackle corruption and make Nigeria a better place.
He said: “But because of this administration, there is change from impunity to accountability, change from a mindset where corruption was actually glamorized to an era today where people see the evil of corruption and try to run away from it.
“We have been able to secure Nigeria by restructuring the economy in a manner that the nation can no longer be held hostage by just one product, oil.
The change that has come is one that has made agriculture attractive, viable and creating millionaires from it.
‘’The change that we have achieved through the sterling and incorruptible leadership of President Buhari has launched Nigeria into a comity of nations that is taken seriously. “But we must note that change is generally difficult to adopt.
We are trying to make people to change from a lifestyle based on rent to industry.
‘’We are trying to change from rent taking to transparency and integrity as a way of life. But those who have been living on corruption are not only resisting us but are also fighting back because of the huge cash they stashed away and control of the social media.
‘’The corrupt elements are fighting back to return to their old ways of living on the public funds they were depending on. There was a time they openly said they wanted corruption back.’’
The setback notwithstanding, Mohammed pointed out that the Buhari administration had recorded concrete achievements in several areas of the economy, boasting that the nation would soon exit recession going by the economic outlook already in sight.
The minister revealed that despite the tough times, the government had been able to boost its foreign reserves by $7 billion between October 2016 and this year. He also said the administration had raised Sovereign Wealth Fund by $500 million and added $87 million to the Excess Crude Oil account in 2017.
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Mohammed also indicated that the government had slashed the price of fertilizer by 30 percent and increased yield per hectare from two to seven tonnes.
The minister said that the administration’s effort to look inwards had also yielded tremendous result by drastically reducing rice import from 580,000 metric tonnes to just 58,000 tonners per year.
On infrastructure, Mohammed said, “We have constructed about 300 kilometres of roads and fixed over 420 kilometres of roads and we have been able to return over 17,000 construction workers to work by promptly paying the contractors and encouraging them to return to sites”.