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2nd Term: Nigeria to witness greatest agric revolution, power generation ― Lai Mohammed

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…says Nigeria to generate 25,000 megawatts of power in 2025

…flaunts improved fund recovery, convictions by anti-graft agencies

Covid-19, Lai Mohammed
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed

By Soni Daniel

As President Muhammadu Buhari begins the second year of his last tenure, Nigerians are to witness unprecedented boost in agriculture, power generation and a general improvement in major facets of governance across the polity, Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, boasted.

Lai Mohammed, who addressed a press conference in Abuja to mark the beginning of the second year of the second term of Buhari’s Presidency, pointed out that the administration had justified the mandate it got from Nigerians and was moving to break new grounds and consolidate on projects and programmes already being carried out.

Key amount the projects being showcased by the administration, is the ambitious power improvement scheme, which the administration intends to use and significantly boost power production and the $1.2 billion cash funding of agriculture in the land.

The minister said: “The past one year has been momentous for Nigeria, as the President has taken some actions, mostly bold and highly visionary, that have now put Nigeria on an irreversible road to sustainable development. Never in the history of Nigeria have so many positive steps been taken in so short a time as Mr. President has done in the past one year.

“As we begin the second year of the second and last tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari, I want to inform Nigerians that the stage is set for the implementation of the greatest agricultural revolution in the history of Nigeria. The unprecedented recent approval by the Buhari administration to inject $1.2b in in-kind loan into the agriculture sector through the government-to-government bilateral loan from Brazil, with support from Deutsche Bank and the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Export Credit of the Islamic Development Bank, will revolutionize our agriculture at scale.

In the same vein, the minister said the country would witness and unprecedented power boost arising from the agreement recently sealed with the German firm of Siemens for the improvement of power generation in the country.

“Top on the list is power or electricity if you wish. It will be an understatement to say that inadequate power supply, hallmarked by regularly blackouts, has stifled Nigeria’s economic development. It is perhaps the single most formidable obstacle to the country’s economic development. But, following an agreement with German company Siemens in July 2019 to boost power supply in Nigeria, the stage is set for the perennial power problem to become a thing of the past.

Under the three-phase agreement, Nigerians will enjoy 7,000 megawatts of reliable power supply by the end of 2021 (phase 1), 11,000 megawatts by the end of 2023 (phase 2) and 25,000 megawatts in the third phase. To put things in perspective, Nigeria’s current power generation capacity is more than 13,000 megawatts, but only an average of 3,400 megawatts reliably reach consumers.

“In essence, the current amount of power that reaches consumers will more than double by the end of next year. In addition, this will create thousands of jobs and will leapfrog the country into the next level of industrial and social development.

Quoting President Buhari, Lai Mohammed said, “Our goal is simply to deliver electricity to Nigerian businesses and homes. My challenge to Siemens, our partner investors in the distribution companies, the Transmission Company of Nigeria and the electricity regulator, is to work hard to achieve 7,000 megawatts of reliable power supply by 2021 and 11,000 megawatts by 2023 – in phases 1 and 2 respectively.

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“After these transmission and distribution system bottlenecks have been fixed, we will seek – in the third and final phase – to drive generation capacity and overall grid capacity to 25,000 megawatts.”

The minister also highlighted the closure of Nigeria’s borders by the administration of President Buhari, pointing out that it had resulted in increased security, revenue, food production that had created enormous wealth for farmers as well as reduced the menace of smuggling across the borders.

He said: “The border closure has boosted production of agricultural products especially local rice, tomatoes, pepper and poultry; and this has influenced the growth of the economy positively.

Today, Nigeria is fast attaining self-sufficiency in rice production, as the border drill has drastically reduced rice smuggling into the country and catalyzed rice production by farmers across the country.

Now, Nigeria has over 34 integrated rice mills as well as rice clusters, while millions of direct and indirect jobs have been created, and huge amount in foreign exchange that hitherto went into rice importation conserved. Rice cultivation has increased from two to three times a year, while rice farmers are now venturing beyond rice cultivation to milling, packaging and marketing.

Overall, the integrated mills currently produce 150,000 bags of rice daily and about 35 million bags per annum, as at the last time we checked.

On the fight against corruption, Mohammed scored the administration high, pointing out that the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission had recovered a princely sum of N81.23 billion in the last one year while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission also netted huge sums in local and foreign currencies.

He gave the breakdown of recoveries by the ICPC as follows:

  • N 41.98bn    —         Money restrained on review of MDAs’

Personnel Cost Expenditure and Capital Development Fund

  • N35.011bn — Lands, Buildings & Vehicles
  • N1.167bn — Cash in TSA
  • N0.77bn — Recoveries from Constituency projects tracked
  • N 1.097bn — Completed constituency projects on return of contractors to site
  • N 0.865bn — Cash (Other Accounts)
  • $1.113m — Cash (Other Domiciliary A/C) Converted @ N305/ $

“In the area of prosecution, the Commission secured 25 convictions in the past one year. The Commission received 1934 petitions within the period under review and concluded investigations on 588 petitions. 105 cases were filed in court and 25 convictions were secured.

“The ICPC has also escalated the use of administrative sanctions in the public service by periodically submitting, for sanction, names of public servants being prosecuted, in line with extant public service rules. Sixty two names were submitted to government for sanction in 2019.

“On its prevention mandate, the Commission reviewed the personnel and capital fund expenditure of 201 MDAs. This activity led to the restraining of about N42 billion on inflated personnel cost which would otherwise have been diverted by MDAs mostly in health and education sectors.

The Minister said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on its part, secured 1,270 convictions and recovered huge amounts of money within the period under review. The recoveries include N32.6 billion, $10,348; £758,155; €183,475; 294,950 Saudi Riyal;2,800 Chinese Yuan; 300 Canadian Dollars and 500 CFA.

The 1,270 convictions include high profile ones, such as the liquidation and forfeiture of the P&ID Nigeria Limited to the Federal Government, after the conviction of the company for fraud and tax evasion.

Vanguard News Nigeria.

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