November 2017 marked two years that most of the ministers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet assumed office.
PREMIUM TIMES, in 2016 reviewed the performances of the ministers after their first year in office with many of them getting average scores.
Mr. Buhari inaugurated 36 ministers on November 11, 2015 to man 24 federal ministries. However, two of them are no longer in the cabinet.
While the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, James Ocholi, SAN, died last year, Amina Mohammed left the cabinet to take up appointment at the UN as Deputy Secretary General.
In August 2017, Mr. Ocholi was replaced with Stephen Ocheni while Suleiman Hassan was sworn in as Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing.
PREMIUM TIMES presents the midterm scorecard of a third set of ministers in this report based on their promises on assumption of office, others they made thereafter and whether they fulfilled them or not.
13. Petroleum Resources
Minister: President Muhammadu Buhari
State Minister: Ibe Kachikwu
-Review and update of oil and gas policy and regulations.
-Improvement of overall business environment to increase investment, boost oil production capacity to 2.8 million barrels per day, and achieve 10 billion standard cubic feet of gas production by 2019.
-Ensure gas revolution through improved infrastructure and fiscal terms.
-Revamp local refineries and domestic production capacity to about 60 per cent by 2018, and ensure total elimination of imports and ensure that Nigeria becomes a net exporter of fuel by 2019.
-Achieve peace in the Niger Delta and security of oil facilities.
-Institute transparency and efficiency in the operations of the industry.
-Maintain robust relations with communities through stakeholder management and international coordination.
-In 2017, the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, again threatened to resume attacks of oil facilities. But, Mr. Kachikwu’s visit to the region in January, along with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on the orders of the President, to interact and consult with the youth and leaders of region, calmed restive nerves. Throughout the year, no major incident of armed attacks on oil facilities was reported in the region.
-Fine-tuning of the new joint venture funding mechanism for oil operations signed late in 2016 with the six multi-national joint venture partners, to help NNPC pay off its cash call arrears, exit cash call funding and transit into an Incorporated Joint Venture (IJV) within the next three years continued during the year.
-NNPC said it secured a total of $3.7 billion in Alternative Financing Agreements with its partners for crude oil drilling financing and condensate production.
-The minister played a pivotal role in getting the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC to grant Nigeria exemption from the decision by its members to cut the group’s crude oil production by about 1.2 million barrels from January 1, 2017.
-The exemption gave Nigeria an opportunity to recover lost capacity in the wake of the cut by more than 50 per cent daily crude oil production capacity, from about 1.1 million barrels as a result of militant attacks on oil facilities. During the exemption period, Nigeria grew its capacity to more than 1.8 million barrels. The exemption, which was extended twice, would continue till 2018 ending.
-The minister only succeeded in getting the Senate to pass the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB in May after more than 17 years. The passed bill, which deals with the governance aspect of the law, seeks to unbundle the NNPC and make the petroleum industry more functional.
-The reforms in the industry appears to be slowing down, particularly in the area of getting the National Assembly to approve the entire legal framework through the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.
-Although Messrs. Buhari and Kachikwu appeared to have won the battle against fuel scarcity and the attendant crisis associated with downstream petroleum industry challenges, the crippling fuel supply crisis that resurfaced in the country in the run up to the Christmas showed the country was far from being out of the woods.
-The poor performance of the refineries below their nameplate capacities, has left Mr. Kachikwu’s target to end fuel importation and Nigeria to emerge as net exporter of refined petroleum products by 2019 in doubt. The plan to spend about $1.12 billion to finance their comprehensive turnaround has not materialised.
-Again, the era of subsidy payment, which Nigerians thought was left behind at the inception of the present administration in May 2015, was confirmed by the NNPC Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, to have been smuggled back for months in the fuel pricing template.
-Although Mr. Kachikwu said the government had set a target of attracting more than $10 billion of fresh investments in the oil and gas industry in the next five years, the plan to host a fresh licensing bid round, earlier scheduled for the end of this year, to award new oil concessions to open up the industry and grow capacity has now been shifted till next year.
-Mr. Kachikwu’s face-off with Mr. Baru over the controversial contract tender for the $2.7billion (about N897billion) gas pipeline contract was a sore point.
-The president was criticised for not asserting his authority to ensure that his chairman designate to the NNPC board was guaranteed the backing to act on his behalf. But, when Mr. Kachikwu accused Mr. Baru of usurping his authority as chairman of the NNPC board, the president did not act swiftly to call the NNPC boss to order.
-Although the minister initially earned the sympathy of Nigerians when he claimed, in a leaked memo to the president, that Mr. Baru exhibited acts of insubordination and abuse of due process in the contract tender, he later presented the same contract to FEC for confirmation.
Minister: Mansur Mohammed Dan-Ali
-Better welfare for both civilian staff and military officers.
-Accountability and due process in procurement process in the ministry.
-Tackle and bring an end to the activities of Boko Haram in the North-east by December 2015.
-Curtail the activities of vandals alongside other criminal activities; and to continue to support the families of the fallen heroes.
-Substantial degradation of Boko Haram activities by liberating all the local government councils in the North-east from the stronghold of the terrorists in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s order to end terrorism in the region by December 2015.
-Release of 82 schoolgirls abducted from their dormitories in a government secondary school in Chibok, Borno State in April 2014. Twenty-one of them were earlier released last year October after negotiations between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government.
-Launching of several forms of anti-terrorism operations under various army code names across the six geo-political zones of the country to decimate terrorists and their activities and also to check violent criminals, agitation and other forms of criminalities.
-Despite claiming that the capabilities of terrorists in the North-east has been degraded, several suicide bombings, mostly by teenage girls occurred between May and December particularly.
In November 21, at least 80 persons lost their lives in Adamawa state in two separate attacks that took place at different communities, hours apart. The highest casualty recorded in the attacks was in Mubi where 50 people were killed during Islamic morning prayers by a suicide bomber.
-Irregular payment of the N30,000 ration cash allowance to troops fighting Boko Haram insurgents in the North-east and several theatres of operation across the nation. Ministry of Defence later ordered the release of the funds in November after they owed the troops two months’ allowances.
-At least 223 people have been killed in Boko Haram attacks in the North-east between April and September according to data compiled by Amnesty International. In November, for instance, over 200 persons lost their lives including soldiers and other security operatives in various Boko Haram, communal attacks, and by other armed bandits.
-Failure by the military to capture Boko Haram commander, Abubakar Shekau, despite giving itself a 40-day deadline to capture the leader of the sect dead or alive.The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, had in July 21 handed down the order to the former Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Ibrahim Attahiru.
15. Works, Power and Housing
Minister: Babatunde Fashola
State Ministers: 1) Mustapha Shehuri
2) Suleiman Hassan
-Construction of 44 federal highways, 63 roads across the country to give relief to Nigerians. The list also contains several bridges and roads across the states of the federation.
-Implementation of policies that would improve gas supply and liquidity as well as the completion of several power projects by the federal government in 2017. Mr. Fashola said these inputs would drastically improve power generation and supply in the year 2017.
The power projects expected to come on stream, according to him, include the Gurara hydro power which was expected to yield fruits by the first quarter of 2017; Katsina Wind Mill; Kaduna 215 megawatt power plant; the Gurara project and the Gardin Kowa plant.
-Existing contracts for 2000 constituency electricity projects under the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) would be completed during the period. N2 billion was provided in the budget for the execution of the projects.
-Implement the National Housing Scheme, which will see the federal government constructing about 2,736 housing units across the country. A total of N41 billion was provided in the 2017 budget for the scheme.
-Proposed N100 billion toward a new Social Housing Programme to provide inexpensive houses for Nigerians. This is aimed at narrowing the housing deficit in the country.
-2,736 fresh units of houses to be built by the federal government in 33 states, in a pilot phase to test-run the affordability and acceptability of its national housing programme.
-Mobilised contractors to site to begin work on major federal highways as early as February 2017. Some rehabilitation works were done in some of the bad roads particularly the Enugu section of the Onitsha-Enugu Road. Rehabilitation works were also started at the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway and some failed sections of the Apapa-Iganmu road in Lagos.
The Lokoja-Obajana junction –Benin road had also received some attention with some asphalt laying on the road. The government also succeeded in responding to the collapsed Mokwa-Jebba bridge, and began the reconstruction of the bridge. The ministry also within the year undertook the construction and rehabilitation of some federal roads in the North-east.
-Improving power generation from as low as 3,700 megawatts in March to about 7,000 megawatts in December 2017 from its 29 different power stations across the country although the system cannot distribute more than 5, 500 megawatts.
It also succeeded in reducing the frequency of system collapse during the period under review. There were also noticeable improvements in power supply in some parts of the country as the year gradually rolled to an end.
-Signed a MoU in June 2017 with eight federal universities and a teaching hospital for the first phase of the federal government’s Energising Education Programme. The solar-based project is expected to provide uninterrupted power to the universities and the local communities around.
-Commenced the national housing scheme in 33 states of the federation with the provision of lands by the states.
-Roads rehabilitation may be ongoing in major roads across the country, yet the kilometres covered have been minimal when compared to the larger sections needing attention, thus making many roads largely impassable.
For instance the Lokoja-Benin road is still a nightmare to road users even though the government is battling to get some of the sections motorable. The Onitsha-Enugu road showcases a mash terrain during the raining season, particular at the Onitsha-Awka axis of the road.
The Okene-Ibilo-Owo-Akure road has become very bad making travellers to use the Ikare-Kabba-Obajana road which is equally bad but better while travelling to and from Abuja. Apapa Wharf has remained an eyesore in spite of several interventions by the government.
-Although the minister promised improved power supply during the year under consideration, there is yet no remarkable shift from the usual irregular power experience Nigerians are generally used to.
-The ministry also failed in ensuring a proper billing of consumers and the DISCOs are constantly defrauding consumers due to the estimated billing system. This also results from the failure of the companies to make pre-paid metres available to consumers. Where prepaid metres are available, the cost of acquiring them are often beyond the reach of consumers.
-The rural electrification programme of the government is rather slow as many communities are still cut off from the national grid several years after the commencement of the programme.
-The national housing scheme has only just started and the projects are far from being completed.
16. Agriculture & Rural Development
Minister: Audu Ogbeh
State Minister: Heineken Lokpobiri
-To revive the cassava bread initiative in order to encourage the use of cassava in food production and processing.
-To assist cassava farmers and processors to create linkage markets to guarantee export and sale of cassava chips at the international market.
-To support the agricultural initiatives of the Nigerian Military.
-Ensure Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in rice production by November 2017, which he said will force a reduction in the price of the commodity.
-Provide support for yam exporters in the private sector and solve their problems, when they arise.
-Nigeria is to engage in the production of yam flour to meet the raw material needs of companies in the pharmaceutical industry.
-Nigeria exported yams to New York and Europe.
-The inauguration of the committees for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Government of Nigeria; participating State Governments of Nigeria and the China-Africa Machinery Corporation, CAMACO on Agricultural Mechanisation System.
-The minister said the administration stocked enough food to address possible shortages in the North-east and other parts of the country which would likely experience low agricultural yield in 2018 due to climate change and weather issues.
-The inauguration of the Project Coordination Unit, PCU, of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for effective implementation of development partners’ funded projects.
-The minister through policies, negated the threat of famine and malnutrition in Nigeria, predicted by three United Nations agencies — Food and Agriculture Organisation, World Food Programme and International Fund for Agricultural Development.
-More states now produce rice for local consumption. They include UMZA Rice (Kano), Mas Rice (Gombe), Mama Pride Rice (Niger), Labana Rice (Kebbi), Ebonyi Rice (Ebonyi), Anambra Rice (Anambra), Olam Rice (Nasarawa) and MITROS (Ogun).
-Facilitated the approval of a $200 million loan by the World Bank to Nigeria to support government’s efforts to boost small and mid-scale farmers.
-The rejection of large quantities of yams exported to Europe and the United Stated of America by American consumers over poor quality.
-Clashes between herdsmen and farmers persisted in some parts of the country despite initiation of moves to import grasses from Brazil for grazing of cattle and plans to set up grazing reserves or cattle ranches to reduce frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
-A recent survey revealed that Nigeria has about 64 hectares of arable land but only 40 percent has been cultivated.
-Many Nigerian farmers still find it difficult accessing loans.
Minister: Adebayo Shittu
-Make communication replace petroleum as Nigeria’s major revenue earner. According to the minister, “I will turn the ministry of communication into a cash cow that will help to revive the economy as oil revenue alone cannot help the country…..Ministry of Communication will replace petroleum as top earner of foreign exchange.”
-Turn around the five key agencies under his ministry – which are Nigerian Postal Service (NPS), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), NIGCOMSAT and Galaxy Backbone, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
-Mobilise communication technology to boost agriculture produce.
-Nigerians to get value for every kobo they spend on telecommunication services.
-Upgrade the ICT sector with a $1 billion investment in line with the promise made by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, during his state of the nation address in 2105.
-Establish an ICT University by the first quarter of 2017.The initiative was to consolidate Nigeria’s embrace of ICT as the key driver of any thriving economy.
-The ministry recently entered into a partnership via NigComSat with the NIPOST to increase broadband penetration in the country. Under the agreement, NigComSat would be using NIPOST masts across the country to install its antennas that would deliver broadband internet service to remote areas.
-NITDA, one of the ministry’s agencies. NITDA clinched the “Outstanding Government Agency of the Year award at 12th edition of Titans of Technology Awards, an annual even organised by Technology Africa, “to celebrate and recognise organisations, institutions and individuals at the forefront of ICT adoption and usage in Nigeria”.
-Training of 2000 young Nigerians on ICT. The training was done in collaboration with the China based ICT company, Huawei.
-Only able to get MTN to pay to pay $1.7 billion out of $5.7 billion fine slammed on it for gross breach of operational ethics in Nigeria.
-ICT University yet to take off. A 31-member implementation committee was only set up in June 2017 to facilitate the establishment of the proposed ICT University of Nigeria. The committee only submitted its report in the second quarter (July) 2017.
-Plan to introduce a new price floor for data segment of the telecommunication sector. However, the move was widely criticised by Nigerians and members of the National Assembly who accused the federal government of insensitivity to the plights of the citizens.
Some quarters felt the move was aimed at limiting Nigerians’ access to the social media which has been very critical of the government’s policies. The NCC had to suspend the planned data tariff hike in November 2016.
-Nigeria still loses billions of naira to cybercrime. The minister himself said the country loses N127 billion annually to cybercrime.
-Nigerians mobile phone users still plagued by unsolicited messages and forced to pay for poor services and drop calls as the NCC cannot sanction defaulting telecom companies.
Score: Below average
18. Information and Culture
Minister: Lai Mohammed
-Promote the Intellectual Property of Artistes.
-Secure N300 million start up loan to support talented youth in the art sector.
-Rebuild the demolished Artists’ Village and compensate artistes.
-In conjunction with the Lagos State government, to transform the National Museum Lagos to a cultural centre.
-Granting of pioneer status to the creative industry.
-Rolling out of the digital switch-over in television broadcasting in phases.
-Failure to rebuild the Artists’ Village and compensate artistes nearly two years after promising to do so.
-Inability to meet the June 2017 World International telecommunication Union Council deadline for a transition from analogue to digital television broadcasting.
-The attempt to try and censor reports about Boko Haram attacks soon after his appointment.