Nigerian government vows to invest for the future

Nnenna Okoronkwo, Abuja

The Nigerian Government has restated its commitment to save and invest for the future, even against the backdrop of revenue challenges.

The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo stated this on Monday while delivering his speech to mark Democracy Day and commemorate the second anniversary of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.

Professor Osinbajo explained that the government is concerned about the impact of the economic difficulties on the citizens.

“We have in the last two years added US$500m to our Sovereign Wealth Fund and US$87m to the Excess Crude Account. This is the very opposite of the situation before now, when rising oil prices failed to translate to rising levels of savings and investment.

Admittedly, the economy has proven to be the biggest challenge of all”.

“Through no fault of theirs, some companies shut down their operations, others downsized; people lost jobs, had to endure rising food prices. In some States civil servants worked months on end without the guarantee of a salary, even as rents and school fees and other expenses continued to show up like clockwork”  he stated.

He however said the administration had targeted a combination of short-term interventions to cushion the hardship, as well as medium to long term efforts aimed at rebuilding an economy that is no longer “helplessly dependent on the price of crude oil”.

He explained that the short-term interventions include “putting together a series of bailout packages for our State Governments, to enable them bridge their salary shortfalls – an issue the President has consistently expressed his concerns about. We also began the hard work of laying out a framework for our Social Intervention Programme, the most ambitious in the history of the country”.

Osinbajo appreciated the many sacrifices Nigerians have had to make over the last few years and commended them for their resilience

“One of the first tasks of the Cabinet and the Economic Management Team was to put together a Strategic Implementation Plan for the 2016 budget, targeting initiatives that would create speedy yet lasting impact on the lives of Nigerians.

Indeed, much of 2016 was spent clearing the mess we inherited and putting the building blocks together for the future of our dreams; laying a solid foundation for the kind of future that you deserve as citizens of Nigeria”.

The Acting President said most of the initiatives of the government is targeted at our young people, who make up most of our population adding that the Administration will do everything to nurture the immense innovative and entrepreneurial potential of young people in the country.

“From N-Power, to the Technology Hubs being developed nationwide, to innovation competitions such as the Aso Villa Demo Day, and our various MSME support schemes, We are a nation of young people, and we will ensure that our policies and programmes reflect this”.

He assured Nigerians that they would soon begin to see the positive impact of the steps the government was taking to end the economic recession.