Democracy Day Speech: Agric remains key economic diversification ― President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari in a June 12 Democracy Day address said he was using the occasion to give an account of his stewardship, noting that agriculture remains key to the nation’s economic diversification strategy.

In a speech that addressed various sectors of the economy including agriculture, power, mining and transport, the President noted that “GDP grew from 1.91 per cent in 2018 to 2.27 per cent in 2019 but declined to 1.87 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the decline in global economic activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

President Buhari said, “In order to stabilize the economy, the Monetary Authority took steps to build the external reserves which resulted in improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market. The external reserves grew from $33.42 billion on April 29th 2020 to about $36.00 billion in May, 2020 which is enough to finance seven months of import commitments.

“Agriculture remains the key to our economic diversification strategy. The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative programme continues to deliver significant quantities of affordable and high-quality fertilizers to our farmers. This initiative has also revived 31 blending plants and created a significant number of direct and indirect jobs across the value chain.

“Government is also revamping the cotton, textile and garment sector via a CBN Textile Revival Intervention Fund that would considerably reduce foreign exchange spent on cotton and other textile imports.”

The President added that “We remain committed to expanding our mining sector. To this end, I have directed the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant based on Government-to-Government financing and a Public-Private Sector financing.”

Relating to the power sector, President Buhari said that “The Power Sector remains very critical to meeting our industrial development aspirations and we are tackling the challenges that still exist in the delivery of power through different strategies. We are executing some critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme including the: Alaoji to Onitsha, Delta Power Station to Benin and Kaduna to Kano; 330kv DC 62km line between Birnin Kebbi and Kamba; Lagos/Ogun Transmission Infrastructure Project; Abuja Transmission Ring Scheme; and Northern Corridor Transmission Project.”

He said the Siemens will transmit and distribute a total of 11,000 Megawatts by 2023.

The president also gave updates on the Second Niger Bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan rail  project.

“On the 2nd Niger Bridge, piling work has been completed and the approach roads are being constructed. 48 per cent of work on this bridge has been achieved. We have constructed 102km of the 376km Abuja – Kaduna – Kano Road, representing 38 per cent, and the 42.9km Obajana – Kabba Road is 87.03 per cent complete.

“The Lagos-Ibadan Rail Line is 90 per cent completed and would be extended to the Lagos Port which would help address the long-standing gridlock at the Apapa port.”

Speaking on Niger Delta issues, President Buhari said, “Furthermore, I am determined to ensure that development meant for the people of the Niger Delta get to them so I have authorised a Forensic Audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission.”

He said Nigeria remains committed to expanding access to quality education to enhance the productivity of its citizens and would continue to pursue the enforcement of free and compulsory basic education for the first nine years of schooling.

Read the full text of the President’s speech here:

 

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