As we enter the first few hours of the year 2014 ,the Federal Government in retrospect on its policies in the 2013 said agricultural transformation, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and road construction have recorded appreciable growth.
Labaran Maku,Minister of Information and the supervising Minister of Defence said in a World Press Conference in Abuja on Tuesday that the present administration has through its policies and plans, structured a path for its work and is succeding.
Maku said, “Economic policies of the present administration have raised the status of the nation’s foreign reserve from $33 billion to about $45 billion since inception. The sound economic template also resulted in the agricultural transformation that is turning around the sector.
In addition,the minister revealed that the stable inflationary rate of 7.90 percent of the economy has been due largely to the proper economic management and the tactful macro- economic management of the economy.
In the same vein, he said that through the Integrated Financial and Information System government had been supervising Ministry’s Departments and Agencies, (MDAs) spending.
“N118 billion has been saved through the Integrated Personnel Payment system (IPPS) .This is part of the reforms that have been saving the nation lots of money.”
On investment inflow in the country,the minister said,
“The nation has witnessed more than N6 trillion investment inflow in the country since the administration kick-started. General Electric,(GE) has invested to the tune of $1 billion in Calabar. Dangote also has invested up to $ 5.5 billion in building refinery and petro-chemicals industry for fertiliser in the out-going year. The Onne Export Investment zone is also witnessing inflow of investment in the Oil and Gas sector and has generated jobs to the tune of 30 000.”
The minister however conceded that corruption has eaten deep into the country’s fabric and revealed that corruption was still a major problem because the economy largely still revolves around government.
“Take a look at the subsidy issue, People go and collect subsidy money while they did not supply. That is why we commenced with a reform to correct areas where access to money does not encourage corruption, and instituted reforms in the sector that gave us the SURE-P platform for further works.”
He said: “Throw a cube of sugar in this hall and you would discover that in a couple of minutes, ants would be everywhere. That is why in this present administration,transformation and reforms are going together. We are working hard to ensure that fraud is eliminated as we have done in reforms in fertilisers,power sector reforms and others.”
Maku insisted that reforms in the aviation sector have really turned around the sector,as new terminals were being constructed in airports spread across the country.
Nevertheless, Maku challenged Nigerians to make state by state assessments for verification purposes.
“It is not every allegation on corruption that is true. Politicians mostly play on people’s intelligence. It is high level politics that is going on to distract the people.
“Corruption is still a matter of conscience. Our values have crashed and we must examine ourselves sector by sector”.
On the power sector,Maku said, “We have just finished privatization, and 10 new power plants have been built. Cumulatively,this would give us to the tune of 4,075 megawatts. You must give the private sector a little more time to settle down.”
The minister further urged Nigerians to go into the new year with a better commitment to serving the country and always resolve to do better.
By: Harrison Edeh