Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has said that Buhari’s administration has created a new set of millionaires through its agricultural policies.
The Minister said this on Tuesday during an interview session with Channels TV where he highlighted the gains of the Buhari-led administration.
“What this government has done is that in the area of agriculture, we have created a new set of millionaires in Kebbi, Imo, Jigawa, Kano states so much that today, these new farmers have been empowered and we have made agriculture quite attractive to them,” Lai Mohammed said.
When asked why food prices have continued to increase in Buhari’s administration, Lai Mohammed explained:
“In any country where you lack basic infrastructure like roads, railways, power, you are going to have a situation where the cost of food would go up and that is why we are investing in infrastructural development.”
The Minister also disclosed that government has commenced the construction of the 150km per hour Lagos-Ibadan rail line and has been able to put down $1.2bn counterpart funding for the Kano-Kaduna-Calabar and Port Harcourt line also.
“By the time these things are put in place, traders would be able to bring tomatoes by train from Kano to Lagos ou would be able to bring food from the middle belt and that is what is going to make your food cheap.
“As we speak today, what government is trying to do is how do we subsidize transportation of these food items to bring them down. So if you don’t have power, roads, railways in any part of the world, the cost of food would go up”.
Maintaining that the government has been able to move the economy out of recession in the Agricultural, Manufacturing and Solid Mineral sectors, the Minister said:
“Despite these austere times, we actually did move out of recession in manufacturing, agriculture and solid minerals”
He explained that Nigeria has been able to move out of recession in the manufacturing sector because of the government’s commitment to “invest in infrastructure, to improve the ease of doing business and unlike the previous administration where 16% was spent on infrastructure in 2015, we spent 30% in 2017 and that is why you can see that we are climbing out of recession”.
The Minister also disclosed that in 2015, 29 sub-sectors of the economy were under-performing but this administration has decreased the number to 16.
More so, while speaking on Monday, May 29th, Lai Mohammed insisted that Buhari’s administration has fulfilled its campaign promises to Nigerians despite dwindling revenue.
According to the Minister, through N-SIP, the Federal Government provided employment to 200,000 unemployed graduates, engaged 57,000 people through Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) and empowered about 26,000 ordinary Nigerians through Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT).
He also disclosed that under the National Home Grown School Feeding Programmme (NHGSFP), Buhari’s administration was able to serve about 25 million meals to 1.2 million pupils all over the country in order to make learning conducive.
The minister added that the APC-led Federal Government under its school feeding programme had employed no fewer than 12,000 cooks across 36 states and the FCT.
“This is a government that promised and delivered on its promises and the unique thing about this particular N-SIP is that it has been achieved in an era when there has been no revenue.
“It would have been a very perfect excuse to say that because oil revenue dropped drastically, therefore, we are not able to deliver on our promises.
“But despite the dwindling revenue, we are able to deliver on our campaign promises and then this is not related just to the social investment programmes alone.
“I am happy that we are here today to prove that this government is not a government of propaganda; this is a real government that is dealing with the real people,” Mohammed said.
Lai Mohammed explained that the programme was designed in such a way that it was easy and accessible to all Nigerians, adding that “one of the unique selling points of the programmes is the transparency in it.”
According to him, this is the first programme in the history of Nigeria where you don’t need to know anybody before you can get enrolled.
“I am happy that many of the beneficiaries have testified to this and this is a new dawn.
“My appeal to all the beneficiaries is to please not limit their testimonies to this hall, please say it louder and clear at every time to all Nigerians.
“Let Nigerians know how this government has impacted positively on your lives,” the Minister said.
Despite dwindling resources between October 2016 to date, the Federal Government was able to add an additional seven billion dollars to its foreign reserves, Lai Mohammed said.
He disclosed that Buhari’s administration had been able to attract 500 million dollars to the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), and increased the Excess Crude account with 87 million dollars.
“All these we did despite the very tight resources,” the minister said.