Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja

Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo SAN has lamented the growing lack of appreciation of the best efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari -led All Progressives Congress APC administration at repositioning the country, saying what afflicts the party is not non-performance but lack of salesmen.

According to him, the APC has a progressive manifesto which is broader in ideals than international development plans which he said most Nigerians are fixated on.

Speaking on Tuesday in Abuja while unveiling, The Progressives Forum, a platform put together by the All Progressives Youth Forum APYF, the minister said there was need to constantly remind Nigerians of where the country was before Buhari assumed the mantle or leadership in mid 2015.

According to him, “what the APC has suffered from over the years is a lack of salesmen”.

Keyamo argued that “participation in our democracy seems to be driven by the instant gratification worlds of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Skewed media”.

“We are using modern technology to revert to primitive kinds of human relations. The media knows what sells – conflict and division, and our party happened to be the scapegoat for the test”, he contended.

On the achievements of the APC administration, Keyamo said; “What I would like to do is remind us where we have come from and the journey that brought us to this point, then, you will understand the values of the APC.

“If you cast your minds back to 2013, when the journey started that led to the merger of the ACN, CPC, ANPP, a fraction of APGA and DPP at the time after which the new PDP joined, it was a revolution which took place to salvage the country from the hands of the PDP which makes the ideological case for the values of the party and resulted in the birth of our great party the APC.

“By the time we held our first convention and replaced the interim leadership of the party with a substantive elected leadership under the Chairmanship of Governor John Odigie-Oyegun, there was work already going on, on the manifesto of the party. Of course, the President went around the entire length and breadth of this Country as the candidate of our party after the historic Lagos Primaries Convention in Dec. 2014.

“We have a manifesto that encapsulates a vision that is even wider than the international development plans which we choose to believe in so ferociously. The APC Manifesto provides the political, economic, social security and security vision that this country yearns for.

“The APC administration in 2015 inherited a fragile macroeconomic environment: oil prices dipped from $94 per barrel to less than $46 per barrel, the growth rate of our GDP dropped from 6.25% to 2.35%, the exchange rate has moved from $1:N168 to $1:N200, inflation moved up from 8.3% to 9.3%, unemployment rate increased from 6.4% to 8.2%, foreign reserves dropped from $38 billion to $30 billion, the Monetary Policy Rate increased from 12% to 13%, growth in the manufacturing sector dropped from 16% to -3.82%, disbursements from the Federation Account Allocation Committee dropped from N604 billion to N485 billion and the value of trading at the Nigerian Stock Exchange went down from N13.6 trillion to N10.3 trillion.

“Since 2015, Nigeria has gone through two cycles of economic recession largely caused by low oil prices, drop in crude oil production and the COVID19pandemic.Toaddressthischallenge, the APC administration placed great emphasis on social investments and has equally increased public investments in strengthening our health system. The policy thrust of this administration has focused on; Agriculture and food security, Infrastructural Development, Macroeconomic stability Development of manufacturing industries–emphasis on (SMEs) Social Development Human Capital Development and capacity development using technology.

“The APC administration inherited a budget of 5 trillion naira and had grown it to 16 trillion naira by 2021. The 2020 budget was funded 100%, while the agric budget for 2021 has been funded by 85%. Nigeria has today moved from sole dependency on oil revenues to non-oil revenues which constituted 70% of the budget before to now non-oil revenues constituting 65% of the budget.

“The progressive ideals of this party border on creating greater access to all levels of government for citizens of the country, creating and expanding opportunities for citizens, providing enabling environments for citizens to carry on their livelihood, attracting favourable investment interests, mentoring the youth and delivery relief in areas of conflict and inequality. The APC administration has kept this as its core focus and would continue to do so in the coming administration”, Keyamo added.

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