The federal government, yesterday, presented the scorecard of President Muhammadu Buhari, citing 100 core achievements of his administration in 2021. Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who listed the achievements, said they were despite dwindling revenues, COVID-19 pandemic, and insecurity in several parts of the country induced by insurgency and banditry.
Mohammed, who addressed the media in Lagos, said government’s economic recovery plan remained on a steady path throughout 2021. He said the country’s domestic growth in the first three quarters of 2021 was positive, recording real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 0.51 per cent in the first quarter (Q1), 5.01 per cent in Q2, and 4.03 per cent in Q3.
The minister said the record was a departure from the declining performance in the first three quarters of 2020, which led to economic recession, put at 1.87 per cent in Q1, -6.10 per cent in Q2, and -3.62 per cent in Q3.
He said the economic performance in 2021 was a reflection of steady improvement in growth over the last three quarters of 2020, arising from government’s policies and strategies, such as the Economic Sustainability Plan and the N500 billion COVID-19 crisis intervention fund, among others.
Mohammed stressed that under the Buhari administration, the rate of inflation had continued to decline on a year-on-year basis since April 2021. He said from the trend, a decline was recorded, from 17.93 per cent in May to 17.01 per cent in August, 15.99 per cent in October and 15.40 per cent in November 2021.
He disclosed that the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning generated N1.53 trillion from Value Added Tax (VAT), while N496.4 billion was generated from VAT in the first three months of 2021, the highest in nine years.
The minister also said crude oil export improved considerably at N10.03 trillion, compared to N6.92 trillion. This represented a growth rate of 44.93 per cent, despite the fact that real growth showed poorer performance in 2021, recording 2.21 per cent (year-on-year) in Q1 2021, -12.65 per cent in Q2 2021 and –10.73 per cent in Q3 2021, from stronger growth of 5.06 per cent in Q1 2020, -6.63 per cent in Q2 2020, and -13.89 per cent in Q3 2020.
According to Mohammed, “The recovery of the economy remained on a steady path throughout the year 2021. As you are aware, gentlemen, many countries around the world face unprecedented challenges, starting from 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and Nigeria is no exception.
“The Nigerian economy was hit by the pandemic in mid- 2020, and the economic disruptions led to a recession. The poor performance of the economy during the COVID-19 era affected output growth, trade, household welfare and livelihood.”
He said the federal government recovered from the dire conditions by rolling out effective fiscal and monetary policies as well as health plan designed to control the spread of the pandemic and mitigate its negative effects on the economy.
The minister disclosed that non- oil export grew by 21.17 per cent, from N1.19 trillion to N1.44 trillion over the same period. He said the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) carried out various operations across the country to enhance security.
He said the Joint Task Force, Operation Hadin Kai, covering the restive North-east, neutralised over 1,000 terrorists, rescued 2,000 civilians, and superintended the surrender of over 22,000 terrorists, including their families.
Mohammed said during the period under review, the Nigerian Army procured 160 MRAPS, 150 trucks, and 60 APCs to improve its equipment holding. Various kits were equally provided for troops.
He said over 1,500 persons were recruited into the Nigerian Navy during the year while the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) took delivery of 12 Super Tucanos and 3 JF-17 Thunder Fighter Aircraft and other platforms with which it conducted several air interdictions, provided close air support to ground troops, and destroyed several illegal structures and equipment belonging to terrorists, bandits, and other criminal elements.
Other achievements of the Buhari administration, according to the minister, included passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA); incorporation of NNPC Limited under CAMA; entrenchment of Transparency, Accountability and Performance Excellence (TAPE) in NNPC; posting of N287 billion profit by NNPC, the first time it will record such profit in 44 years; and the Final Investment Decision on $3.6 billion integrated methanol and gas project in Odioma, Brass Island, Bayelsa State, which was scheduled to come into operation in 2024 and was expected to produce 10,000 tons of methanol daily.
Ohers were the $260 million Funding Agreement for ANOH Gas Processing Company Limited (AGPC), a project that would deliver 300 million standard cubic feet of gas per day and 1,200 megawatts of electricity to the domestic market, and the launch of Nigerian Upstream Cost Optimisation Programme (NUCOP) to drive down the cost of crude oil production in the country and make Nigeria competitive in the global market.
Mohammed also listed the award of $1.5 billion contract for the rehabilitation of Port Harcourt Refinery to Tecnimont SPA of Italy; construction and rehabilitation of 21 roads under the federal government’s Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme; construction of Kano-Maiduguri Road Section II (100.08 kilometres, (Shuwarin-Azare) in Jigawa and Bauchi States, Kano-Maiduguri Road Section III (Azare-Potiskum) 106.34 kilometres in Bauchi and Yobe states, Vandeikya-Obudu Cattle Ranch Road Phase I and II (24 kilometres) in Benue and Cross River states, Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega-Kontagora-Makera Road (304 kilometres), 360-metre bridge at Ikom in Cross River State, which had been completed and now awaiting commissioning, 400-metre border bridge between Nigeria and Cameroon, which was also completed and awaiting commissioning, and Second Niger Bridge, now 78 per cent complete and expected to be ready in November 2022.
Mohammed also cited the designation of four international airports in Abuja, Kano, Lagos, and Port Harcourt as Special Economic Zones, aimed at encouraging business/investment, the procurement of two mobile control towers in Lagos and Abuja airports, and the provisional approval, which the Ministry of Aviation received for the establishment of Aerospace University in Abuja.
He also listed the flag-off of the commercial operation of Lagos-Ibadan rail line in June 2021 and the signing of the MoU with Portuguese company, Mota-Engil Group, for the construction of $1.959 billion Kano-Maradi standard gauge railway lines, as well as the ground-breaking ceremony for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the 2,044-kilometre Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Gauge Railway project and Bonny Deep Sea and Railway Industrial Park, in addition to the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kano-Kaduna Standard Gauge Rail-line Modernisation project.
The minister said 12 dams were completed in a bid to maximise dam infrastructure, while 96,000 hectares of irrigation land were developed in 2021. He noted there was a review of the Expatriate Quota fees, which ensured generation of additional revenue for the federal government.
He praised the Buhari administration for approving Legal Notices, which allowed local governments to conduct Statutory Marriages sequel to compliance with regulations by the Ministry, in line with the Marriage Act of 1958 as amended. He also commended the president for approving the National Action Plan to end statelessness in Nigeria, as required by the UN, the launch of the new visa policy reclassifying the visa categories from six to 79, and processing of visa on arrival to holders of passports of African countries.
The minister also credited the administration for the Passport Issuance Reform, which ensured the clearing of a backlog of 96,083 passport applications between January and September this year.