By CALEB AYANSINA & EMMA ELEBEKE
ABUJA— The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, yesterday, said the current insecurity challenges in the country were not the creation of Federal Government, but local politicians that felt Nigeria belong to them.
The minister said they caused crises to discredit Jonathan’s administration and that in spite of that, the government had made tremendous progress in all sectors of the economy in the last three years.
Maku, who stated this during a world press conference to review Federal Government’s achievements in 2013 in Abuja, noted that those criticising government were doing so because of their ambitions for the 2015 general election.
According to him, government has been able to manage the economy in spite of the economic meltdown in the world economy.
He further said the present administration, in spite of political denials, had been able to developed people-oriented economy, with the highest Gross Domestic Growth, GDP, recorded consecutively in the past three years.
The minister maintained that the government had ensured stability in the exchange rate, low inflation rate and high economic growth, due to proper management of the economy.
This, according to him, had made Nigeria the highest receiver of foreign investment in the continent.
Maku said: “Nigeria’s GDP is one of the fastest growing in the world. Growth rate in 2013 was put at 7.2 per cent by International Monetary Fund, IMF.
“The dollar exchange rate has remained stable in the last two years (between N155 and N160).
“Inflation rate is declining and has been in single digits all year. Current inflation rate is eight per cent in September, down from nine in January 2013.
“By May 2013, Nigeria’s foreign reserve was $48.4 billion up from $32.08 billion in May 2011.
“Excess Crude Account, ECA, rose from $4 billion in 2011 to $9 billion at the end of 2012. It is now helping the country to cushion the effects of current low earnings from oil.
“Nigeria’s debt to GDP is 21 per cent, compared with South Africa, 42.7; USA, 106; UK, 90 and Japan, 225.