President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday expressed delight that investments in improving security are yielding good dividends, lauding the Nigerian military for making significant progress in the fight against insecurity and building the momentum in reducing challenges to their barest minimum.
Speaking at the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum held on the margins of the 77th UN General Assembly in New York, the President pledged that the Federal Government would do more to improve security, recognising that the sector is another critical element in the flow of investment, and overall economic and infrastructural development.
”We will continue to give all necessary support to our security outfits to ensure that they are able to tackle the challenge headlong”, he said, stressing that ”the advantages and disadvantages of investing in Nigeria far outweigh the challenges.”
President Buhari also declared that in spite of the global crisis fuelled by the Ukraine-Russian war, the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and insurgency in some parts of the country, Nigeria is on course to take her rightful place in the global economy.
He attributed the country’s success story to the implementation of reforms aimed at attracting foreign investments and sustained improvement in governance.
He noted that the quarterly GDP growth in Q1 2022 has been mostly driven by the non-oil sector, giving credence to the revenue source diversification agenda of the government.
The president, however, acknowledged that more still needs to be done to improve private capital flows into Nigeria through Foreign Direct Investment and financing for infrastructure, affirming that the administration is leveraging the Integrated National Financing Strategy to address this.
On growth driven by the non-oil sector, the president said:
”The agricultural sector, our most important, has remained resilient in spite of security concerns, low irrigation, limited inputs, and legacy infrastructure challenges, with strong food demand bolstering growth. Growth in manufacturing reflected stronger household and business consumption on account of the reopening of economic activities and improvement in supply chains.
”The present growth in our service sector is promising. Further privatization, foreign investment, globalization and competition will serve to stimulate growth and competition in the service sector and the economy as a whole.
”On the domestic front, the Federal Government is taking some bold, decisive and urgent action to address revenue underperformance, and improve our operations to make investment in Nigeria very attractive.
”Overall, the Nigerian economy is ripe for increased investment. But on the contrary, private capital flows into Nigeria, consisting mainly of Foreign Direct Investment, have slowed, hindering the financing of much-needed infrastructure and natural resource access projects. Our Administration is already working on innovative ways to restore these flows.
The president who was represented at the opening session by the Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, told the international economic forum attended by Akinwumi Adesina, president of African Development Bank, and Florie Liser of the Corporate Council on Africa, among others that a key strategy being adopted to improve infrastructure financing is the Integrated National Financing Strategy.
He explained that the strategy seeks to identify ways to expand the financing envelope of the Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria and enhance the sustainable development impact of financing by seeking to integrate and align public and private financial policies, regulatory frameworks, instruments, and business processes with sustainable development.
He added that the private sector would play a significant role in the strategy.
The president also mentioned other efforts by his administration to improve the nation’s economic and development outlook, such as Nigeria’s National Development Plan (2021 – 2025) and the Presidential Power Initiative.
On Nigeria’s National Development Plan, the president stated that it was formulated against the backdrop of several subsisting development challenges in the country and the need to tackle them within the framework of medium and long-term plans.
”This all-encompassing plan, aims to generate 21 million full-time jobs and lift 35 million people out of poverty by 2025, thus setting the stage for achieving the government’s commitment of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
”To attain the objectives of the National Development Plan (2021 – 2025), we estimate that we would require an investment commitment of about N348 trillion. Government capital expenditure during the period will be N49.7 trillion (14.3 per cent) while the balance of N298.3 trillion (85.7 per cent) is expected from the private sector.
”Of the 14.3 per cent government contribution, FGN capital expenditure will be N29.6 trillion (8.5 per cent) while the Sub-National Governments’ capital expenditure is estimated to be about N20.1 trillion (5.8 per cent).
”The successful implementation of this Plan will, therefore, be heavily dependent on strong partnerships between the private and public sector, both within and with development partners outside Nigeria.”
Regarding the power sector, President Buhari noted that his administration has recognised it as a major catalyst for Nigeria’s industrialization, adding that in July 2021, the 614-kilometre Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline project was launched to enhance energy security.
”Our administration also provided the sovereign guarantee for this vital infrastructure project. When completed, this project will drive industrialization across the country.
”Furthermore, the first phase of the Presidential Power Initiative will provide over 40 million people with more reliable electricity supply, create 11,000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians.
”This will be from power system engineers to electricians and contractors, and this will, in turn, improve the standard of living while providing homes and businesses with constant, reliable, and affordable electricity supply.”
The president recalled that at the commencement of his administration, N200 billion was paid for stranded power to service existing liabilities:
”Contract terms in Power Purchase Agreements were changed from ‘Take or Pay’ to ‘Take and Pay.’ Similarly, the Distribution Companies were made to use banks for bill collections – prior to this, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) was getting only 50 per cent of proceeds. Now, TCN is financially viable and can invest in its own infrastructure.”
Wishing the forum very successful deliberations, President Buhari assured them that the Federal Government of Nigeria is very keen to consider the outcome of the deliberations and recommendations to elevate the Nigeria project to its rightful place of magnitude.