The Presidency has appealed to former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Ghali Na’Abba, to take a second look at Muhammadu Buhari administration’s achievements since its inception on May 29, 2015.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, made the appeal in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday.
The presidential aide, who was reacting to Na’Abba’s media interview on President Buhari, said the appeal had become imperative so as to change his (Na’Abba) negative opinions as published by a media.
Na’Abba had during an interview with a TV presenter, Osasu Igbinedion, vowed not to support Buhari in his bid to be re-elected in the forthcoming presidential election slated for Feb. 2019.
The former speaker, who also revealed that Buhari had alerted members of the Board of Trustees of the All Progressives Party (APC) in Nov. 2017 of his intention to seek re-election, said his decision not to support the president was due to alleged Buhari’s failure “to add even an inch of value to democracy’’.
However, Shehu, who narrated Buhari’s achievements, urged Na’Abba to spare time and study them in order for him to change his negative impression.
The achievements read in part: “Nigeria exited its worst recession in decades. After five quarters of negative growth, the economy bounced back into positive territory. Agriculture was one of the stars of 2017, posting consistent growth levels even throughout the recession.
“Also, inflation fell for 10 consecutive months during 2017 (February to November).
“The Naira stabilised against the dollar, after the Central Bank introduced a new Forex window for Investors and Exporters. The stability has attracted billions of dollars in portfolio investments since April 2017.
“On the back of a stable Naira and increased investment inflows, Nigeria’s stock market emerged one of the best-performing in the world, delivering returns in excess of 40 per cent.
“Nigeria saw bumper food harvests, especially in rice, whose local production continues to rise significantly (states like Ebonyi, Kebbi, Kano leading the pack, with Ogun joining at the end of 2017). The price of a 50kg bag of rice – a staple in the country – has fallen by about 50 per cent as local production has gone up.
“The Federal Government launched a N701 billion Intervention Fund (‘Payment Assurance Programme’) aimed at supporting power generation companies to meet their payment obligations to gas and equipment suppliers, banks and other partners.
“The impact is being felt, the amount of power being distributed is now currently steady at around 4,000MW and generation now put at 7,000 MW, higher than ever recorded.
“The Federal Government began paying pensions to police officers who were granted Presidential pardon in 2000 after serving in the former Biafran Police during the Nigerian Civil War. These officers, and their next of kin, have waited for their pensions for 17 years since the Presidential pardon.
“Nigeria rose 24 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings, and earned a place on the List of Top 10 Reformers in the world.
“Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves grew $40 billion, reaching the highest level since 2014. Nigeria also added, this year, an additional $250m to its Sovereign Wealth Fund. Also, Nigeria’s trade balance crossed over into surplus territory, from a deficit in 2016.’’
The presidential aide revealed that Nigeria had successfully issued two Eurobonds (US$4.5bn), a Sukuk Bond (100 billion Naira), a Diaspora Bond (US$300m), and the first Sovereign Climate Bond in Africa, raising billions of dollars for infrastructure spending.
He said the federal government had inaugurated a Tax Amnesty scheme expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenues when it closes in March 2018.
He also disclosed that the government had successfully commenced implementation of a Whistle blowing Programme that had so far seen recoveries of tens of millions of dollars.
On the Social Investment Programme which he described as Nigeria’s most ambitious social welfare programme ever – rolled out across dozens of states, Shehu said currently, 5.2 million primary school children in 28,249 schools in 19 states are being fed daily.
He stated that under the programme 200,000 unemployed graduates had enlisted into the N-power Job Scheme, and a quarter of a million loans already distributed to artisans, traders, and farmers).
“The number of Nigerians facing food insecurity in the northeast dropped by half, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).