The Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Muhammadu Buhari, has stated that if elected, his administration would invest massively in road construction “from one end of Nigeria to the other.”
Speaking at an interactive meeting with members of the Organized Private Sector in Lagos, Monday, Mr. Buhari said his government’s priority would be three-pronged – tackling insecurity, reviving the economy, and stemming bribery and corruption.
“Road construction alone will unlock a value chain of opportunities in the (building) industry for construction companies, builders, engineers, architects, quarry operators, cement and iron production and supply,” Mr. Buhari, a former military head of state, told the gathering of business executives, manufacturers, and investors.
“The successful opening up of Nigeria by the construction of new roads and highways will revive road transportation, truck and tyre manufacture, engine oil and brake pad production on one hand and it will also create a demand for jobs for mechanics, drivers and those engaged in transport support businesses.”
Mr. Buhari pledged to end the importation of tomato puree into the country by setting up its manufacturing industries, as well as providing facilities to preserve the products for transportation across the country.
“I was shocked to hear how much was being spent in importing tomato puree because while driving from Kaduna to Kano, I see the quantity of tomatoes wasting while being harvested and transported to markets across the country.”
The APC presidential candidate also promised to support initiatives that would build local refineries.
“We will support this initiative because a local refinery means many things including availability of jobs locally at a Nigerian refinery instead of a refinery abroad, local fuel supply and national security, reduced importation, less demand for foreign exchange and strengthening of the Naira,” he said.
On the issue of corruption, Mr. Buhari noted that it is interconnected with insecurity, job creation, provision of infrastructure, and attaining self-sufficiency in food production.
“Corruption affects our ability to secure ourselves and it also undermines the performance of the economy,” Mr. Buhari said.
“This current government is being challenged to account for an estimated $20 billion and the whole country is awaiting a report of a forensic audit. $20 billion at N210 to $1 is equal to N4.2 trillion – nearly a year’s federal budget.
“If it is true that this sum cannot be accounted for, this is grossest form of corruption. Just think at N5 million per vehicle, this money would have bought 840,000 patrol vehicles to improve security in every town and village in the country.
“At N13.5 million for a high capacity bus, this money would have bought 311,000 buses; from information at my disposal, Lekki Bridge in Lagos cost N29 billion to construct. N4.2 trillion would have built 145 Lekki bridges.”
On whether his administration would probe past corrupt officials, Mr. Buhari said, “If we continue to look back, we will never move forward but the day an APC government is sworn in, those who have been responsible for doing government business will have to behave themselves. That’s all I can say.”