President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the current challenges confronting Nigeria will not overwhelm the nation.
In a broadcast to mark the nation’s 59th Independence anniversary aired on major radio and television networks, Buhari urged Nigerians to be law-abiding as the government puts measures in place to fix the economy, restore security and drive further the development of infrastructure.
He also spoke about his devotion to the anti-corruption battle and commitment to collaborate with the National Assembly to ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to open up the oil sector for the government to deepen its source of income and to open it up to private sector players.
Promising to accelerate the implementation of the outgoing year 2018’s capital budget, Buhari said the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning had been directed to release N600 billion for Capital Expenditure in the next three months.
Besides, he said that the government plans to give incentives to attract private sector inflow of over N205 billion to develop (19) roads and 794.4 km bridges in 11 states through the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme.
The President also promised that Nigerians would have affordable and uninterrupted electricity supply in not too distant future.
He said: “Nigeria will emerge from our present challenges stronger and more resilient than ever – but only if all of us join hands to entrench Good Governance, foster Inclusive Economic Development, and defend and protect our Nation from all those who would wish us ill.”
He said his administration remained committed to delivering positive and enduring change through maintenance of national security; restoration sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development and fighting corruption against all internal and external threats.
On security, he said: “Good governance and economic development cannot be sustained without an enabling environment of peace and security. In the last four years, we have combatted the terrorist scourge of Boko Haram.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to our gallant men and women in arms, through whose efforts we have been able to achieve the present results. We are also grateful to our neighbours and allies – within the region and across the world – who have supported us on this front.
“The capacity of our armed forces to defend our territorial integrity continues to be enhanced by the acquisition of military hardware as well as continued improvements in the working conditions of our service men and women.”
He said the Ministry of Police Affairs was resuscitated to oversee the development and implementation of strategies to enhance internal security.
“My recent assent to the Nigerian Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act has created a legal framework to support our Police with increased fiscal resources to enhance their law enforcement capabilities,” he said.
According to him the recent redeployment of the Niger Delta Development Commission from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs underscored his administration’s commitment to enhance the living standards in the Niger Delta communities through coordinated and appropriate programmes.
Preaching peace to fast-track development, the President said: “I reiterate my call for all to exercise restraint, tolerance and mutual respect in airing their grievances and frustrations. Whilst the ongoing national discourse on various political and religious issues is healthy and welcome, we must not forget the lessons of our past – lessons that are most relevant on a day such as this.
“The path of hatred and distrust only leads to hostility and destruction. I believe that the vast majority of Nigerians would rather tread the path of peace and prosperity, as we continue to uphold and cherish our unity.”
He also spoke on accelerating sustainable and inclusive economy growth, pointing out that his administration has been able to diversify the economy from oil.
“This administration inherited a skewed economy, where the Oil Sector comprised only 8% of Gross Domestic Product but contributed 70% of government revenue and 90% foreign exchange earnings over the years. Past periods of relatively high economic growth were driven by our reliance on oil sector revenues to finance our demand for imported goods and services.
“Regrettably, previous governments abandoned the residual investment-driven Non-Oil Sector, which constituted 40% of Gross Domestic Product and comprised agriculture, livestock, agro-processing, arts, entertainment, mining and manufacturing activities that provide millions of jobs for able-bodied Nigerians and utilise locally available raw materials and labour for production.
“To address this imbalance, our commitment to achieving economic diversification has been at the heart of our economic strategies under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which I launched on the 5th of April, 2017.”