Federal government unveils economic plans

Acheme Jack, Solomon Chung, Kano

The Federal government has unveiled its economics plans for the country.

At a town hall meeting in Kano, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed said that  President Muhammadu Buhari came to power to salvage the country as he met a sick, weak and corrupt government.

He said the current hardship being experienced is as a result of the problem the All Progressives Congress government inherited from the past regime.

“We inherited a sick, weak, corrupt government from the previous regime and it is affecting every body today especially the poor but we are doing everything to turn the system  around and we need patience because there is light at the end of the tunnel as we have a government with integrity.

At a  point the current administration was faced with retrenching workers because of the financial predicament it found itself but President Buhari single handedly overruled that nobody should be disengage from work and urged everybody to continue to manage the situation.

Things are gradually picking up as we have been blocking leakages through the Treasury Single Account TSA, Fiscal discipline  and improve security especially against Boko Haram among others,” explained the Minister.

“This government is one that “cares for the poorest of the poor” and we are doing everything to ensure they get what they are entitled to and that is why we are organizing the town hall meeting to tell them what we are planning and doing as well as get feedback and suggestion from them as we mark one year in the office.”

The Minister, while reeling out the achievements of the present administration said 500 billion naira had been earmarked as a social intervention fund to alleviate poverty especially for the handicapped and the aged.

He said onetrillion naira was being saved from the fuel subsidy regime which will be used to finance projects that will have a direct impact on the people.

“The subsidy removal has made fuel to become available everywhere stressing that two of the nation’s refineries are now working and approvals have been given for 37 modular refineries to domesticate the nation’s oil economy.”

By 2016 we are targeting 60 percent domestic refining ratio of our crude oil and by 2019 we will become net exporter especially when the Dangote refinery come on stream,” the Minister explained.

The governor of Kano state, Umar Ganduje said Nigerians voted for a change as a result of dissatisfaction.

“So we must work hard to satisfy them because the people are expecting much from the government.

The town hall meeting will help to eliminate suspicion as  people will be informed, educated and even entertained,” said the governor.

Economic sectors

The Minister for Solid Minerals, Bawa Buari, said the government has planned to create employment and generate revenue through solid minerals as well as prevent poisoning from exposure to minerals as the case was in Zamfara state.

The government has planned a cooperative society for local miners to access funds and machines. The plan will be sponsored by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bank of Industry.

He said the nation will soon stop the importation of granite because they are available in the country as well commence the mining of bitumen in commercial quantity.

“We are trying to abolish the indigenization policy that scares investors away from the sector, so that investors like Rio Tinto, Implast among others can come to invest in the sector like they do in South Africa,”  stated the Minister

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar said the government has commenced encouraging and financing of Small scale industries as that is the only way a lot of poor people can be reached to take them out of poverty.

She said the government has planned “to ensure that sugar, cotton  and tomatoes production commence in commercial quantity. Women are being registered across the country for special investment assistance using the social intervention fund.”

The Minister for Water Resources, Adamu Suleiman said irrigation is being greatly promoted to encourage all season commercial  farming as well as small holder ponds to encourage fish farming including revitalization of over flowing dams that cause flooding in parts of the country

“18 Dams have been identified for hydro power projects as we plan to equally harness water from lake chad and the Mambila water falls, ”  he added.

The Minister of Internal Affairs Abdulraham Dambazau urged Nigerians to be patient with the Buhari regime as it has good plans for the country.

“The government has planned to build new passport office and a modern prison yard in Kano state”

The Minister of Budget and Planning, Zainab Ahmed said the ministry is ensuring strict implementation of the 2016 budget especially the 500 billion naira intervention fund targeting the vulnerable.

Questions were raised by participants on the poor electricity supply in the country especially industrial town like Kano; how to revive the traditional textile industry dating 500 years back; post NYSC schemes for self employment; reduction of fuel cost and the 5,000 naira unemployment allowance promised during the APC campaign as well as how to obtain mining a licence for which inputs were made by the six ministers that attended the town hall meeting.

Participants described the town hall meeting as a good way for people to understand governance and for government to also know their feelings.

One of the participants, Suleman Adamu  said the forum had “created an opportunity for them to understand what the government has been doing and also planning to do.”

The Kano Town Hall meeting is the third in a series but the first to be conducted in the local Hausa language for effective communication to the grassroots.