President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday assured Nigerians that the 11.9km Second Niger Bridge, 120 km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and other key projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) will be completed within the second term of this administration.
The assurance was given at the opening of a two-day Mid-Term Ministerial Performance Review Retreat organized to assess progress made towards the achievement of the nine key priorities of this Administration.
Addressing guests at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the president expressed delight that over the past two years, ministers have rendered reports to the Federal Executive Council on their activities related to the achievement of their ministerial mandates; reports which President Buhari said speak of feats attained by his administration.
He listed accomplishments in the areas of infrastructure, transportation, economy, electricity supply, the petroleum industry, among others.
‘‘On transportation, we are growing the stock and quality of our road, rail, air and water transport infrastructure.
‘‘The PIDF projects are also advancing remarkably. These include the 11.9km Second Niger Bridge, 120 km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, 375 km Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Expressway and the East West Road. Most of these projects are expected to be completed within this 2nd term of our Administration,’’ he stated.
Speaking further regarding achievements of his government, President Buhari noted that his administration has made tremendous progress on railway projects in the country, noting that upgrading of the railway network is being extended with the recent completion of the Lagos – Ibadan line.
‘‘The Itakpe-Ajaokuta rail line has finally been completed and commissioned after 30 years of its conception. ‘‘Work is expected to commence very soon on the Port-Harcourt Maiduguri line and Calabar – Lagos Coastal Line to connect the Southern and Eastern States of our Country. Progress is also being made on the upgrading of our Airports, with the state-of-the-art facilities in line with world class safety standards,’’ he said.
On the economy, the President said the nation witnessed three consecutive quarters of growth, after negative growth rates recorded in the second and third quarters of 2020.
‘‘The GDP grew from 0.8% in 2017 to 2.2% in 2019, but declined in the first quarter of 2020, as a result of the downward trend in global economic activities triggered by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
‘‘As at Second Quarter 2021, GDP growth rate was at 5.01%, the highest since the inception of this Administration”.
On security, President Buhari announced that the Ministry of Defence has been instructed to create a modest military-industrial complex for the local production of weapons to meet some of the requirements of the country’s armed forces.
The president explained that the establishment of the industrial complex would address Nigeria’s over-dependence on other countries for military equipment and logistics.
He said the project is being implemented under the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), a military department responsible for arms manufacture.
On other efforts to strengthen national security, the President said it was gratifying to note that Nigeria has received six A-29 Super Tucano. He said the propeller-driven aircraft are being used for training, surveillance, and attack by the military.
‘‘As part of the efforts towards strengthening our national security, we have increased investments in arms, weapons and other necessary equipment; expanded the National Command and Control Centre to nineteen states of the Federation; and established a Nigerian Police Trust Fund, which will significantly improve funding for the Nigeria Police Force.
‘‘We have also approved the sum of N13.3 billion for the take-off of the Community Policing initiative across the country, as part of measures adopted to consolidate efforts aimed at enhancing security nationwide,’’ he stressed.
Regarding the power sector, President Buhari noted that the implementation of a ‘Willing Buyer-Willing Seller’ Policy has opened up opportunities for increased delivery of electricity to underserved homes and industries.
He expressed hope that the execution of critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme, will result in achieving the national goal of improved power supply by 2025.
As regards the Petroleum Industry Act signed into law on 16th August 2021, the president reiterated his directive to the Implementation Committee to complete all processes for the successful operationalization of the Act within 12 months.
On efforts to empower the youth and other vulnerable groups by enhancing investments in the Social Intervention Programmes, the President said he has approved the expansion of the National Social Register (NSP) by 1 million additional households.
‘‘We have established the N75 billion Nigerian Youth Investment Fund created to boost the Nigerian economy through leverage and access to finance for youths.
‘‘The Fund should serve as a catalyst to unleash the potential of the youth and to enable them to build businesses that will stimulate economic growth and create jobs. These accomplishments are a testament to the fact that all hands are on deck in establishing a solid foundation for even greater successes in future,’’ he enunciated.
The president warned all ministers and permanent secretaries to take seriously all issues relating to the implementation of their mandates towards the attainment of the laudable objectives of this Government.