President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration has in the last six years concentrated on revamping the economy for the good of all Nigerians.
The President made the declaration in a nationwide broadcast to citizens, as the country marks 22 years of uninterrupted democratic rule.
He said poverty and youth unemployment were responsible for the security challenges confronting the nation but steps are being taken to bring the problem to a halt.
According to him: “We are at the same time addressing the twin underlying drivers of insecurity namely, poverty and youth unemployment. Interventions led by the government and the Central Bank of Nigeria, driving economic growth over the past six years, are targeted mostly to the agricultural services, infrastructure, power and healthcare sectors of the economy.”
He said; “In the agricultural sector for instance, the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme resulted in sharp decline in the nation’s major food import bill from $2.23 billion in 2014 to $0.59 billion by the end of 2018. Rice import bill alone dropped from one billion USD to $18.5 million annually.
“This initiative supported local production of rice, maize, cotton and cassava. Government financed 2.5 million smallholder farmers, cultivating about 3.2 million hectares of farmland all other the country and created 10 million direct and indirect jobs.
“In the manufacturing sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria and Bank of Industry N200 billion facility financed the establishment and operation of 60 new industrial hubs across the country, creating an estimated 890, 000 jobs.”
President Buhari stated; “My vision of pulling 100 million poor Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years has been put into action and can be seen in the National Social Investment Programme, a first in Africa and one of the largest in the world where over 32.6m beneficiaries are taking part. We now have a National Social register of poor and vulnerable households, identified across 708 local government areas, 8,723 wards and 86,610 communities in the 36 States and the FCT.
“Our conditional cash transfer program has benefited over 1.6 million poor and vulnerable households comprising more than 8 million individuals. This provides a monthly stipend of N10,000 per household.”
President Buhari said government is able to achieve all these through sensible and transparent borrowing and improved capital inflow, as well as improving and increasing revenue through capturing more tax bases and prudent management of investment proceeds in the Sovereign Wealth Fund.