Do you know the owner of Kilimanjaro? Prince Uche Secondus who is the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Yes, the Kilimanjaro you know and eat flashy foods with . The 2019 general election is about progress, posterity, a departure from the past and the consolidation of the last 4 years by President Muhammadu Buhari and his team. You wonder why I was supporting Atiku; this is it here and it is contained in the book I wrote because of the lack of information coming from the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC). Let me add that I am a card-carrying member of the APC and that has been since 2015. However, along the I became embittered with the loss of jobs and opportunities forgetting that the cost of change can be tough, temporary and comes with sacrifices but the PDP cannot understand this because they are used to stealing and embezzling money.
The campaign for Atiku Abubakar was because of his businesses and how did he make his money? I argued that he worked as public servant but public servants do not make such amounts and after seeing the numbers, I can say that he is actually a smart thief. His principal and mentor Olusegun Obasanjo who has consistently called him a thief has now turned to call him a saint or better than President Buhari who has never been in public service after leaving the government of Sani Abacha. Why is this so? Was he (Obasanjo) blackmailed with their common atrocities in Transcorp Hotel, NITEL, Ota farm and all the privatizations that took place between 1999 to 2007. What changed about the Atiku of 2007 and now? Nigerians need to ask questions regarding what pertains in the media and what these politicians tell their publishers to print and share for us to see.
I will be sharing an article I wrote about a year ago about President Muhammadu Buhari and his achievements since 2015 to about 2017 and leave you to read and understand. The change he promised was going to be cut short by the illness that came but God and the prayers of Nigerians preserved him and we are grateful for that.
See article below;
Economic Policies of the President Buhari’s led Government
The year 2015 and the months leading up to the polls of March 2015 is one that many Nigerians will continue to remember and the stories told to generations unborn. The story of how a man that was rejected three times in previous elections in 2003, 2007 and 2011 turned out to be the messiah of this generation of Nigerians. He has been described figuratively as the Abraham Lincoln of modern Nigerian politics. It is the story of how the integrity and history of a man 30 years ago was able to bring him back to power, transcending the records of contemporary politicians including the unpopular government of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The campaign of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s ascendancy to power was run on the platform of change that was highlighted under three categories; Security, Anti-corruption and the Economy with emphasis on Job creation. With the rot that was already witnessed under the People’s Democratic Party-led government especially the last government and many allegations of corruption, this was going to be a daunting task. However, within over 2 years of this government, great gains have been made economically for Nigeria while President Buhari holds the fort. In this piece, I will be sharing on how the second coming of President Buhari has brought many gains economically for the Nigerian people.
Though the government of President Buhari faced much criticisms especially with the government slipping into recession; the APC-led government has made gains that will go a long way to shape future generations. The recession which brought untold hardship for middle and low-income Nigerians was caused by the wasteful spending of the last administration despite a windfall in oil production (2.2 million barrels per day) and over $100 per barrel in the international oil market.
- Treasury Single Account (TSA): This was one of the first major decisions of President Buhari to implement the collection of government revenues into a single account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria. The old order in previous governments was the proliferation of various accounts in various states with individuals signing and doling out money. The introduction of this TSA monetary policy saved 3 trillion naira for the government, increased accountability, remittances and blocking of leakages and waste.
- Restructuring of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC): The NNPC which is the country’s major marketer of the nation’s oil wealth was a huge mess with a structure encouraging corruption and a lack of transparency. With the restructuring of the board and leadership of the corporation, a monthly publication of revenues was initiated and that has been on till date.
- Oil Scandals, Deals and Swaps: The regime of subsidy payment that characterized the Nigerian Oil industry experienced a rebirth under President Buhari. The few businesses that felt they could hold Nigerians to ransom were tamed by the reforms in the industry while still maintaining ethical and professional standards.
- Agriculture and Solid Minerals: Agriculture formed a major part of the campaign of the All Progressives Congress and despite the country’s slipping into a recession, this sector experienced growth with the many programs (discussed below) initiated by the President Buhari’s administration. The Ministry of Solid Minerals which being manned by Dr Kayode Fayemi equally is experiencing unprecedented growth more than we have had in many decades and after return to democratic rule in 1999. These two major sectors of Agriculture and Solid Minerals have had half of the different sub-sectors move from negative growth to positive growth (29 subsectors) in 2016 to 16 in the Q1 of 2017. After 5 quarters of negative growth, the manufacturing sector has come back to positive with -7% growth in 2016 and a growth of 1.36% in Q1 of 2017. As priority sectors of the Buhari government, Agriculture and Solid Minerals grew by 4.11% in 2016 and 7% respectively. The Ministry of Solid Minerals tripled their remittance to the Federation Account from 700 million in 2015 to 2 billion in 2016.
- Savings in this Government: This government did what the last government could not do (despite high oil prices) by saving and increasing foreign reserves, Excess Crude Account and our Sovereign Wealth Funds. The External Reserves has grown by US$7 billion since October 2016, the Sovereign Wealth Funds had an inflow of US$5oo million in 2016 and 2017 and this was the first inflow since its creation in 2012 with US$1 billion. The Excess Crude Account has had an inflow of US$87 million in 2017.
- The Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP): This was an initiative of the Central of Bank of Nigeria (and supported by President Buhari) that developed new soil mapping that aided fertilizer application which raised grain production substantially. Grain production increased from 2 tonnes per hectare to about 7 tonnes in some States which produced a model collaboration in agriculture between Lagos and Kebbi States. It will interest you to know that the importation rice (which is consumed most in Nigeria) fell from 580,000 MT in 2015 to 58,000 MT in 2016.
- Presidential Fertilizer Initiative: This was developed as a partnership between the Governments of Nigeria and Morocco to supply phosphate to the country and the resultant effect was the revitalization of 11 blending plants in the country. Some of the benefits are the annual savings of US$200 million in our foreign reserves and N60 billion for annual budgetary allocation in fertilizer subsidies. Farmers are now able to get fertilizers at a rate that is 30% cheaper than what it used to be.
- Huge Support for Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises: This timely initiative was to develop to provide different support in small funds to small enterprises across the country. Some them include; the introduction of a new Development Bank which will receive an initial support of $1.3 billion (from the World Bank, German Development Bank, the African Development Bank and Agence Française de Development) for medium and long-term loans to MSMEs, the MSME Clinic that will bring small enterprises and government agencies together across the country to better understand the plight of these small businesses, the Ease of Doing Business and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment component (GEEP) of the Social Intervention Programme (SIP).
- Ease of Doing Business: Before I proceed to discuss the structure of this initiative, I will like to say that this program though it is still in implementation mode has moved Nigeria from the World Bank’s report on Ease of Doing Business Index 2018 (released in November) from 169 to 145. This is 24 places move upward among other nations of the world. This plan kicked off when President Buhari in August 2016 inaugurated the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council to implement 60 National Action Plans between February 2017 and April 2017. Over 70 percent of the targets were achieved and they include;
- Intending Business Owners can now search for Company names on the website of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
- Intending Business Owners can now upload their registration documents directly to the website of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
- Eliminated the need for SMEs to hire lawyers to prepare registration documents
- Introduced a single form for Company Incorporation to save time and reduce cost
- Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) e-payment solution has been integrated with the CAC portal to facilitate e-stamping.
- Interested parties can conduct online searches of secured interests on movable assets on the National Collateral Registry
- New Arrival and Departure forms for use at our International airports. The new forms are shorter and have also consolidated a number of previously separate forms into single documents.
- Simplified our Visa on Arrival (VOA) Process. Submission of VOA applications and receipt of approval letter can now be done electronically via a dedicated NIS email address: email@example.com
- Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has now been mandated to schedule and coordinate joint physical examination of cargo to ensure there’s only one point of contact between importers and official
- Imports into Nigeria now required to be placed on pallets to facilitate quicker physical examination.
- Central Bank, Customs and banks now required to process Net Export Proceeds forms within 72 hours; and Pre-Shipment Inspection Agencies (PIAs) now required to issue Certificate of Clean Inspection (CCI) within 3 days
- Approval obtained to reduce the number of documents required for imports from 14 to 8, and number of documents needed for exports from 10 to 7
- Minimum container placement notice time needed by Terminal Operators for examination reduced from 24 hours to 12 hours.
- Minister of Interior has approved and launched a new Immigration Policy for Nigeria (Source: Fact Check by Presidency on Premium Times, May 2017)
This National Action Plan was followed through when Acting President Yemi Osinbajo in May 2017 signed Executive Orders on Improving Efficiency in the Business Environment, and on Promoting Local Procurement by Government Agencies.
- New Social Housing Scheme: This was kicked in 2017 and tagged Family Homes Fund with an initial N100 billion provided for in the 2017 Appropriation Bill. A pilot scheme has already kicked off and the government has taken steps to collaborate with the private sector for partnership funding.
- Historic Allocation on Capital Projects: For the first time history, Nigeria had a government and President who prioritized investment in infrastructure with the allocation of N1.2 trillion for 2016 budget. This caused a rapid resumption of work on various projects that were left unattended to and abandoned. Many contractors went back to work.
- Foreign Investment and Partnerships with China and Morocco: The President visited the People’s Republic of China on an economic and state visit with a number of agreements signed for infrastructural partnerships. This unlocked many projects across the country and this includes the 150 km/hr rail project between Lagos and Ibadan.
- Local Refinery Capacity: The amount of crude oil refined by the NNPC (in Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt) increased from 8 million barrels in 2015 to 24 million in 2016 and 10 million barrels for the Q1 of 2017.
- Social Investment Programme: President Buhari while on the campaign trail proved that he really cared for the masses and the poor in the society. He showed this by a promise of social programmes that will support various categories of the less privileged in the society including market women, students and petty businesses. As at the middle of this year the four components of the Social Investment Programmes have kicked off in the following areas;
- The SIP is the largest and most ambitious social safety net programme in the history of Nigeria, with more than 1 million beneficiaries so far — 200,000 N-Power beneficiaries (160,000 of them have had their details validated and are now receiving the monthly N30,000 stipends, while the rest are undergoing verification.
- 3,162,451 people belonging to 26, 924 registered cooperatives have been registered for the Government Enterprise and Empowerment (GEEP) Scheme. 57,234 interest-free (except a one-time low administrative fee) loans have been issued, across 28 States and the FCT. 56% of loans so far disbursed has gone to female beneficiaries.
- 1,051,000 Primary School Pupils are currently benefiting from the Homegrown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP), in 8,587 schools across seven States. More than 11,000 cooks have been employed for the HGSFP.
- Under the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Programme, 26,942 beneficiaries are now receiving the monthly N5,000 stipend in 9 States and 84 Local Government Areas. The States are Borno, Cross River, Niger, Kwara, Ekiti, Kogi, Oyo, Osun and Bauchi. (Presidential Fact Check)
- A New Vision for the Niger Delta: The Niger Delta happens to be a major asset for the country and President Buhari understands this. It is this understanding that prompted the implementation of the Ogoni Environment Report (done in a previous government) for the Clean-up of the Delta after many years of suffering for the people. This was further followed by engagement by the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo under the direction of President Buhari to the region that has been troubled for many years with kidnapping, militancy, oil bunkering, environmental degradation and civil unrest. This new vision for the Niger Delta took into consideration a 16-Point Demand Agenda submitted to President Buhari in November 2016 by the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF). Some of the visible results of this initiative are;
- Approval of a 2017 commencement date for the stalled Nigerian Maritime University in Delta State
- Approval by President Buhari of an additional 35 billion naira for the 2016 budget of the Presidential Amnesty Programme
- Approval for the establishment of Modular Refineries across the nine States of the Niger Delta
- Resumption of construction work on abandoned projects across the Niger Delta, including the all-important East-West Road.
The National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP)
No vision can see the light of the day or be implemented without a detailed plan that is strategic. The government of President Buhari understands this and in April 2017 launched a document called the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP) as the Federal Government’s Medium-term economic plan for Nigeria between 2017 and 2020.
The vision as contained in this document is to ensure economic growth, invest in Nigerians and build an economy that is globally competitive. The attainment of this vision is to be achieved by focusing on five key execution priorities;
- Stabilizing the macroeconomic environment;
- Achieving Agriculture and Food Security;
- Ensuring energy efficiency (especially in power and petroleum products);
- Improving transportation infrastructure; and
- Driving industrialization primarily through SMEs.
The unveiling of this plan also caused the oversubscription of the Eurobond in excess of US$7.8 billion far more than the pre-issuance that targeted only US$1 billion. This trend proved the confidence in the Nigerian market by local and international investors created by the good initiatives of this government under President Muhammadu Buhari.
The government of President Buhari though was characterized by a recession that caused widespread criticism, it is well understood that changing Nigeria will require tough and hard choices and decisions to be made. There will be sacrifices in different ways but the programmes initiated are designed to move Nigeria towards an era of positive over the next decade or two. The vision is not for two tenures of government but for the next generation of Nigerians who will hold the fort when the old goes into retirement. President Buhari and his team are clearly laying a foundation for a strong and prosperous future of the New Nigeria.
All these are policies initiated and some adopted by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and the PDP and Atiku will tell you that the dollar is not back to $1 to N1 as he promised but let’s see the numbers. In 2014, before he came the dollar was around 190 naira and it was not floated. There were fears about floating by the Goodluck Jonathan government and President Buhari had the same fears. But after due consultations, he decided to float the naira and that led to 450 naira to the dollar. From the time of floating in 2016 to today, the dollar has improved from 450 to 360 for black market prices and for the official prices it is at 305. This means that President Buhari has made the naira to drop by #100 to the dollar and the PDP could not achieve this from the fixed rate or control regime at #190.
Do you understand? If you don’t please comment below and I will answer you expressly and explicitly.
On the Anti-Corruption side, President Muhammadu Buhari has done a great job and it can be found below;
The Anti-Corruption Policies of President Buhari’s Administration
The man Muhammadu Buhari has over the years proved to be a man of integrity, probity, accountability and prudence in the administration of his affairs whether in government or as a family man. This is a principled he built as a military officer, a General, administrator, public servant and now as President of a democratic Nigeria, he is pushing more for sanity and probity in our polity. While on the campaign trail, Mr President made it clear that if we don’t kill corruption, it will kill Nigeria. Little wonder why the revelations of corruption in the PDP government, plunging oil prices, militancy in the Niger Delta plunged the country into a long-predicted recession.
That today is a history of deliberate and successful economic policies recognized by the International Monetary Fund. In this piece, I will reveal the many policies, initiatives that the Buhari administrative has adopted to tackle corruption using acceptable global standards.
- The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audits (PICA): This was done to check the activities of Ministries, Departments and Agencies particularly with regards to their payrolls. Government agencies now undergo continuous auditing of their records to ensure transparency in the system. Since inception, this program has discovered leakages from over 50, 000 wrong payments and payroll savings of about N198 billion in 2016. The Federal Ministry of Finance in this administration has equally set a target to ensure that the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) reaches up to 100 percent of MDAs by the end of 2017.
- Reforms to the Budget Process: A presidential order was signed mandating all government agencies to be prepared to adopt the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) template for budgeting. The 2017 budget was prepared using a web-based application created by the Budget Office of Nigeria making it the first time this is happening. This was a departure from the usual old practice of submitting hard copies to uploading them on web portal by every government agency. The replacing of the budget process brought systems that can audit and track the process online without any unauthorized alterations. Each agency is simply expected to upload their budgets for the Budget office to review, give feedback, collate and approve. Personnel totalling more than 4,000 staff of various MDAs were trained across the nation to run these new systems and processes. The budget office now has a helpdesk office for any complaints either through phone calls or emails.
- Widening the Scope of the Treasury Single Accounts (TSA): On the 7th of August, 2015 President Buhari gave a directive to all Ministries, Agencies and Departments to close all their accounts in Deposit Money Banks and remit their balances to a single Treasury Account domiciled with the Central Bank. They had a deadline of on or before 15th September 2015 to do this. This laudable initiative resulted in the consolidation of over 20,000 accounts run by various government agencies resulting in the monthly saving of N4.7 billion. By the 10th of February 2017, the TSA has had a cash inflow N5.244 trillion making it possible for the Ministry of Finance, Accountant-General of the Federation and other relevant offices in government to monitor the inflow and revenue sources for government. With this, they have a comprehensive overview of government revenues. The TSA encouraged transparency and accountability in public finance; the old culture of having some MDAs having excess funds while others go borrowing is now a thing of history. No agency head or signatories will make unmonitored withdrawals that cannot even be accounted for or questioned. The Treasury Single Account initiative was launched in 2012 but it never got traction or compliance until President Buhari’s Executive Order in August 2015. As at December 2016, 766 MDAs were found to be TSA-compliant. It is undergoing constant fine-tuning by the Federal Ministry of Finance and audits are carried out to ensure all funds meant for the TSA are remitted.
- The Use of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) for Payroll and Social Investment Programmes: Expenditure on personnel happens to be one of the majors high-cost implications on the government and to check any wastages the Buhari-led administration adopted the Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) for payroll and pension audits. For the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) the use of BVN has detected over 50,000 error/fraudulent entries of payroll. The BVN was equally initiated for the verification and disbursement of funds to beneficiaries and vendors for the Social Programmes like N-Power and the Home School Feeding Programme.
- Adoption of Accrual-Based Accounting System: The old system that was in place was the cash-based system which did not determine the liabilities of different decisions of government like expenditure and the benefits of an asset acquired or built. This cash-based did not also capture the liabilities in the public sector and this is at the risk of future fiscal sustainability. The accrued-based accounting shows the real financial position of the government with the assets and liabilities identified. This has helped the government of President Buhari to take decisions that will benefit Nigerians when it comes to asset and liabilities disposal, improvement and management. With the accrued based system of accounting, the government is able to have a comprehensive nature of cash flow and projection for better cash management.
- Joining the Opening Government Partnership: In May of 2016, President Buhari attended a summit on Anti-corruption organized by the UK government and after the summit, he pledged Nigeria’s commitment to join the OGP, an international initiative for transparency, accountability and civic engagement. By July 2016, Nigeria became the 70th country to be part of the Open Government Partnership and a National Steering Committee was initiated after which they came up with an Action Plan for 2017-2019 for more transparency in government and the management of public resources. The Action Plan for Nigeria was submitted at the OGP Global Summit in Paris, France in December 2016.
- Enforcement of Conditionality of Fiscal Support to States: The Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP) was developed to outline the conditions for which the states are qualified to have access to the N510 billion Budget Support Facility by the Federal Government. The FSP was developed primarily to ensure accountability in public expenditure across the Federation in the states. 35 states signed up to this. 8 accounting firms were employed to carry out independent auditing of the states to ensure that they meet the FSP conditions. The states were also required to meet all the conditions and failure to do so leads to removal from the budget support facility. The Fiscal Sustainability Plan is part of the many initiatives of the APC government to reform the Public Financial Management Systems nationwide.
- Creation of an Efficiency Unit: with the responsibility to ensure best practices in the management of government resources, procurement issues, reduce wastage and equally reduce costs on recurrent expenditure. The unit has so far achieved a major feat of saving N15 billion naira from various sources like sitting allowance, travels and souvenirs. There is also a potential to save up to N7 billion from expenditure lines where the will be controlled using circulars. There is also an ongoing initiative to start price-checkers and debit cards for payments.
- Reforms in Asset Recovery: The Buhari government also constituted a Presidential Committee on Asset Recovery (PCAR) that was headed by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to bring together all relevant agencies involved in recovering these assets of the Nigerian people. An account was also designated in the Central Bank of Nigeria to monitor remittance and revenues from these assets and transparency.
- The New Whistleblowing Policy: Within the first two months of creation, the whistleblowing policy raked in $160 million and N8 billion naira in stolen government funds that were recovered. This policy equally made Nigerians determined to tackle corruption and be a part of the process as well.
Now those articles were written in 2017 when I was still writing for people and I was contracted to write that while still supporting the PDP but today, I realize that President Muhammadu Buhari might not be eloquent enough or speaking to us but he is working.
So Why Did I go to Atiku After knowing all these about President Muhammadu Buhari?
It is simply because the government lacked a good communication strategy and all that is captured in this book. Written at the end of 2017, this book espouses the initial frustrations with the APC under President Buhari. In real indices, the economy in dollars terms have grown more than it did under the 16 years of the PDP. Dollar to the naira was pegged at 190 naira while in the time of Buhari after it was floated, it went 405 and has dropped to 305 on its own. This is progress is about 117 naira more than that of PDP that remained at about 18 naira for 16 years.
Disclaimer: This article and the part on Economy and Anti-Corruption was written in 2017 and was never published.