Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has called on people of the state to support the incoming administration of Mr Seyi Makinde to succeed for the good of all.
The governor made the call on Saturday in Ibadan during a special service organised in his honour by the Ibadan branch of Ansar-ud-deen Society (ADS).
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ajimobi was honoured by ADS at the event for his contributions to the development of the state and propagation of Islam.
He urged the people to pray and support the incoming administration to succeed, saying that the progress of the state should be the concern of all.
Ajimobi, who hinged the successes recorded by his administration on God and support enjoyed from the people, said he led a Godly and prudent government.
“We have served the people in various capacities and we have given our best in transforming the state. No doubt, we are leaving the state better than we met it.
“Who else can we thank if not God and the people for our achievements in the last eight years? God has been very kind to us for granting us the opportunity to serve for eight years.
“This is the first time anyone would serve as governor for eight years in the history of the state. Makinde’s emergence is God-ordained and we must all support him to succeed for the progress of our state,’’ he said.
The governor used the opportunity to apologise to those he might have offended in the course of his administration, adding no one can occupy position without stepping on toes.
He advised the incoming administration to do everything within its capability to sustain or improve upon the peace and security enjoyed by the people of the state.
Ajiimobi also counseled the people to desist from selfishness, blackmail and backbiting, saying such attitudes were hindrances to self and societal development
Dr Bashir Olanrewaju, ADS Chief Missioner in his sermon, commended Ajimobi for supporting the propagation of Islam through his policies and building a befitting mosque for Muslims to worship.
According to him, “abundant grace of God abide by those who seek well of other people, propagate God’s teachings and seek a better society.
“These you have done and we pray that Almighty God continue to bless you abundantly.’’
He called on the wealthy in the society to always use their wealth in seeking paradise, while urging those in position of authority not to use their powers to torment or oppress the people.
The event was attended by a former Senate Leader and Senator-elect for Oyo Central, Sen. Teslim Folarin, members of the State Executive Council and hosts of other well wishers.
NAN recalls that the governor had on Friday observed Jumat service at the Oja’Oba Central mosque in Ibadan, where he also appreciated God and the people for their support.
Also, Ibadan Obas-in-Council and Oluyole Cheshire Home Management Committee had similarly honoured Ajimobi for his contribution to the development of the state and Nigeria.
Edited by Wale Ojetimi
Roundup: COVID-19 recoveries in Italy continue to rise, 28 positive migrants isolated
The number of people who recovered from COVID-19 infections in Italy reached 186,111 on Wednesday, as 1,526 new recoveries were registered over the past 24 hours, the country’s Civil Protection Department said in its daily bulletin.
There were 30 new fatalities over the 24 hours, which brought the country’s death toll to 34,644, the Civil Protection Department said.
The department explained the death figure resulted nonetheless lower than Tuesday’s 34,675, since the Autonomous Trento Province revised its toll down by 61 death cases.
Active COVID-19 infections kept following a downward path, down by 918 against Tuesday to a total of 18,655.
Of those active infections, 107 patients are currently in intensive care, down by eight compared to the previous day. Another 1,610 remain hospitalized with symptoms, down by 243, and the remaining 16,938 — or 91 percent, are isolated at home because they are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms.
Assessed cases in Italy increased by 190 to 239,410, including active infections, recoveries, and fatalities. The figure came after the Autonomous Trento Province revised its assessed cases up by 387 on Wednesday.
MIGRANTS IN ISOLATION
Also on Wednesday, 28 migrants rescued by the non-governmental ship Sea Watch at large in the Mediterranean — while trying to reach the Italian coasts — tested positive for COVID-19. They were put in isolation on board another ship anchored off Porto Empedocle in Sicily, according to Italian authorities.
The 28 patients — all of them asymptomatic or with light symptoms — are part of a larger group of at least 209 rescued migrants and refugees.
“The procedures adopted (in the case) guarantee the full protection of the country’s health security,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement published by local media.
“Since their arrival, all migrants have undergone the proceedings provided by the guidelines on the protected isolation system developed by the Directorate-General for Health Prevention of the Health Ministry,” it added.
The alert was launched after a first rescued migrant (out of the 28) felt sick on board the Sea Watch on Tuesday, and was transferred to hospital in the city of Caltanissetta, where he tested positive to COVID-19.
After that, a swab test was carried out to all of the rescued people and the crew of the ship.
SUPPORT FOR VIRUS-HIT FIRMS
On the economic side of the COVID-19 crisis, the Finance Ministry on Wednesday said applications to benefit from a moratorium on loans exceeded 2.6 million, worth almost 280 billion euros (315 billion United States dollars) overall.
In addition, requests from micro, small, and medium firms for accessing new bank loans backed by the state’s Guarantee Fund now exceeded 690,000.
Both measures were made available through a governmental “Liquidity Decree” since early April in order to support the companies hit by the coronavirus emergency and the related lockdown on economic activities.
The task force managing such liquidity supportive measures involves the Economy Ministry, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Bank of Italy, the Italian Banking Association (ABI), and the SACE Export Credit Agency.
Italy’s economy — the third largest of the euro-zone — might contract by 12.8 percent this year due to the coronavirus impact, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast on Wednesday, revising a previous 9.1 percent predicted in April.
In its “World Economic Outlook Update”, the IMF also said it expects Italy to grow by 6.3 percent in 2021, up 1.5 percentage points compared to the April forecast.
News Analysis: Why Africa’s anti-epidemic efforts yield better results than expected
Quick actions and cooperation among African countries helped slow down the spread of COVID-19 and avert a full-blown catastrophe in Africa, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said last week.
His remarks were backed up by data from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). As of Tuesday, the continentwide tally of COVID-19 cases surpassed 252,000, accounting for 3 percent of the global total. The death toll stood at 6,779, accounting for 1.5 percent of the global total. And the coronavirus-related mortality is lower than the global average and that of the United States and European countries.
On June 13, Africa CDC issued an announcement that 43 African countries stay under full border closure amid the epidemic, and night-time curfew has been activated across 35 countries in an effort to halt the spread of the virus.
Across Africa, about seven countries have banned international air traffic, two countries have imposed restrictions on travels to and from specific countries, and two others have activated entry/exit restrictions, according to Africa CDC.
It added that although some African countries still allow cargo, freight and emergency transport in and out of their countries and some African Union (AU) member states allow citizens and residents to enter, borders are essentially all closed.
It also noted that 54 countries in Africa have imposed limitations on public gathering, some 38 have forced country-wide closure of educational institutions, while prison and hospital visits have also been limited in 20 African countries.
Amid growing efforts against COVID-19, some 18 African countries have also initiated mass screening and testing, while 41 have mandated public use of face masks, the agency said.
According to a study released in May by the World Health Organization (WHO), slower rate of transmission, lower age of people with severe disease, and lower mortality rates have been observed in Africa, compared to the most affected countries in other parts of the world.
The study said this is “largely driven by social and environmental factors slowing the transmission, and a younger population that has benefitted from the control of communicable diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis to reduce possible vulnerabilities.”
However, it also warned that the lower rate of transmission suggests a more prolonged outbreak over a few years, and revealed that smaller African countries alongside Algeria, South Africa and Cameroon were at a high risk if containment measures are not prioritized.
According to an article published by France’s Le Monde, people’s immunity has been mobilized in a continent that sees many epidemic diseases.
It suggested that the relatively small international movement of African people delayed the pace of the virus’ “landing” and spread on the continent.
In addition, the number of virus testings conducted in African countries is smaller than that in European and American countries, and the testings are mostly reserved for severe cases, which is also a factor behind a smaller number of confirmed cases.
GREATER SUPPORT NEEDED
Although Africa has achieved positive results in its epidemic control, it is still widely recognized that the international community should cooperate to support the continent, which is more vulnerable to the raging pandemic with its densely populated markets and housing, poor access to clean water and run-down health infrastructure.
At the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit in March, major economies reached a consensus that consolidating Africa’s health defense is key to the resilience of global health.
Speaking at the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping especially called on G20 members to jointly help developing countries with weak public health systems enhance preparedness and response.
And China, together with many other countries, is taking concrete actions to implement the consensus.
So far, China has sent to over 50 African countries and the AU their much-needed supplies, dispatched medical experts, and shared its anti-epidemic experience via video conferences.
A communique issued on June 13 by the AU said China has ensured the supply of 30 million testing kits, 10,000 ventilators and 80 million masks each month for Africa, a “significant contribution.”
In late April, the WHO launched an initiative to step up joint actions to fast track the development of technological tools for COVID-19 treatment, and called on the world to ensure equal access to treatments regardless of race, gender or wealth.
To avoid a heavy blow to the global battle against the pathogen, it is believed that the international community must move faster to support Africa and keep it from becoming the next “epicenter” of the pandemic.
“The importance of promoting effective containment measures is ever more crucial, as sustained and widespread transmission of the virus could severely overwhelm our health systems,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa, was quoted by the organization’s study in May as saying.
Roundup: United States Fed chair Powell sees uncertainty in recovery, warning of widening economic gaps
United States Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Tuesday that significant “uncertainty” remains about the timing and strength of the recovery, warning that a prolonged downturn could further widen gaps in economic well-being.
Despite the economic bounceback, most forecasters think “that will leave us well short of where we were in February, full employment with the economy really working broadly across all of its areas,” Powell said in a virtual hearing before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
“There are parts of the economy that will struggle to return to their old ways of activity, because they involve getting people together closely in large groups,” said the Fed chairman. “It’s going to take some time to rebuild confidence.”
At the hearing entitled “The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress,” Powell said in his opening remarks that beginning in mid-March, economic activity fell at an “unprecedented” speed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the measures taken to control its spread.
“Even after the unexpectedly positive May employment report, nearly 20 million jobs have been lost on net since February,” he said, noting that the reported unemployment rate has risen about 10 percentage points, to 13.3 percent.
The decline in real gross domestic product (GDP) this quarter is “likely to be the most severe on record,” Powell said.
The central bank chief reiterated that the burden of the downturn has not fallen equally on all Americans, saying that “those least able to withstand the downturn have been affected most.”
“Low-income households have experienced, by far, the sharpest drop in employment, while job losses of African Americans, Hispanics, and women have been greater than that of other groups,” Powell said.
“If not contained and reversed, the downturn could further widen gaps in economic well-being that the long expansion had made some progress in closing,” said the Fed chair.
The Congressional hearing came shortly after the United States Commerce Department reported that retail sales increased by 17.7 percent in May following a record plunge in the prior month, as businesses continue to reopen across the nation.
Noting that the retail sales number was evidence that the economy was bouncing back, the Fed chair said, “the levels of output and employment remain far below their pre-pandemic levels, and significant uncertainty remains about the timing and strength of the recovery.”
“Much of that economic uncertainty comes from uncertainty about the path of the disease and the effects of measures to contain it,” he said. “Until the public is confident that the disease is contained, a full recovery is unlikely.”
As reopening efforts continue across the nation and employment starts to pick up, Powell said that “we have a long road ahead of us to get those people back to work,” especially those who work in the service industries.
ECONOMIC SUPPORT IN NEED
Noting that the unemployed will be hard pressed to find work, Powell said they’re going to “need support,” without making specific suggestions for Congress on future fiscal policy actions.
Also on Tuesday, more than 100 economists, including two former chairs of the Federal Reserve, three former chairs of the Council of Economic Advisers, and two Nobel laureates implored Congress to immediately pass a “multifaceted relief bill of a magnitude commensurate with the challenges our economy faces.”
The economists said Congress must pass another economic recovery package before most of the support in the 2.2-trillion-dollar CARES Act, or the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, expires this summer.
“If Congress fails to act, state and local governments face potentially disastrous budget shortfalls,” the statement read, noting that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the unemployment rate will likely be more than 11 percent at the end of the year.
At the hearing, Powell highlighted the importance to support state and local governments, saying that if the states are in tight financial straits, they will cut essential services, and lay people off, which will “weigh on the economy.”
5th Anniversary: Presidency lists achievements of Buhari Administration with pictures
The Presidency says it has concluded arrangements to air a documentary on verifiable achievements of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari on June 14 and 15.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, confirmed this in a statement in Abuja on Saturday.
Adesina stated that the documentary programme was part of activities to commemorate the Fifth Anniversary of the Buhari administration.
According to the presidential aide, the documentary will be aired on Channels Television on Saturday, June 13 at 7p.m as well as on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Sunday, June 14 at 7p.m.
He said : ”To commemorate the Fifth Year Anniversary of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, a documentary on verifiable achievements of the administration within the period will be on Channels Television on Saturday, June 13 at 7p.m as well as on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Sunday, June 14 at 7p.m.”
NAN reports that the Presidency also listed the achievements of the Buhari administration with pictorial evidences in the past five years as follows:
- The Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria, launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015, has made available more than 200 billion Naira in funding to more than 1.5 million smallholder farmers of 16 different commodities (Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, Cassava, Poultry, Soy Beans, Groundnut, Fish), cultivating over 1.4 million hectares of farmland.
- The ABP has substantially raised local production of rice, doubling the production of paddy as well as milled rice between 2015 and 2019.
- Between 2016 and 2019, more than 10 new rice mills came on-stream in Nigeria. Many of the existing Mills have expanded their capacity; several new ones are under construction.
- More than a billion dollars of private sector investments in the production of Rice, Wheat, Sugar, Poultry, Animal Feed, Fertilizers, etc, since 2015.
- Federal Executive Council approval (2020) for a National Agriculture Mechanization Programme, “the Green Imperative”, in partnership with the Government of Brazil and multilateral financing institutions.
The Presidential Fertiliser Initiative:
- Launched in January 2017, as a Government-to-Government agreement with the Kingdom of Morocco
- More than a million metric tonnes of fertiliser produced since 2017. This translated to distribution of more than 18 million 50kg bags of NPK fertiliser in the first three years of the PFI)
- 22 blending plants resuscitated (combined installed capacity of more than 2.5m MT)
- Price reduction from 9,000-11,000 per bag, to 5,500
- FX savings of $150m annually through the substitution of imported components with locally manufactured ones
- Subsidy savings of 50 billion Naira annually
Making Business Work
Support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises: The Administration has launched a series of funding and capacity development initiatives designed to support MSMEs:
- The newDevelopment Bank of Nigeria (DBN) has finally taken off, with initial funding of US$1.3 billion (N396.5 billion); to provide medium and long-term loans to MSMEs.
- Since 2017, the DBN has disbursed a total of N100 billion through the bank’s 27 Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) impacting more than 100,000 MSMEs.
- 52% of loans disbursed in 2019 were to youths and women owned businesses.
- Bank of Industry has disbursed more than N400 billion in loans to large, medium, small and micro enterprises since 2016.
- It has also established a N5 Billion Fund for Artisanal Miners, as part of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Solid Minerals Development’s Programme to boost Mining activities in Nigeria; as well as a $20 million Fund to support young technology entrepreneurs in Nigeria
- The MSME Clinics, which bring relevant Government Agencies together with small businesses operating in various cities across the country, to enable the Agencies provide direct support to these businesses. The interactions allow the Agencies better understand the issues facing small businesses, and provide a platform for speedy resolution.
- The Ease of Doing Business Reform Programme (see below)
- The Government Enterprise and Empowerment component (GEEP) of the Social Intervention Programme (SIP)
Ease of Doing Business Reform Successes:
- The work of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (inaugurated by President Buhari in August 2016) and the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES) has resulted in Nigeria moving up 39 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings since 2016. In the last 3 years Nigeria has twice been adjudged one of 10 Most Improved Economies in the Rankings.
- The Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) in 2017 completed a long-overdue revision of the list of activities that can benefit from Nigeria’s Pioneer Status Incentive, which grants beneficiary companies a 3 to 5-year tax holiday. The revision, done more than 10 ten years after the last one, has modernized the List, expanding the tax holiday incentives to qualifying companies in E-commerce, Software Development, Animation, Music, Film and TV.
- NIPC published a Compendium of all Investment incentives in Nigeria, making it easier for existing and potential investors to have equal access to the information.
- Some of the specific Ease of Doing Business Reform achievements are as follows:
- Assent by President Buhari to the Finance Bill, 2019. The Finance Act, 2019 is the first time Nigeria is accompanying the passage of a Budget with complementary fiscal and business environment reforms legislation. The 2020 Budget is also the first time in 12 years that a Federal Budget has been restored to the January-December cycle.
- Creation of a National Collateral Registry (NCR). A NCR or Movable Assets Registry was established by the Central Bank of Nigeria, in May 2016. The NCR allows small businesses to get access to loans using movable assets – machinery, livestock, inventory – as collateral. As of the end of June 2018, the NCR online portal had registered 630 financial institutions. Between inception in 2016 and April 2020, these financial institutions had recorded a total of 65,370 moveable assets on the portal, belonging to 165,456 borrowers, and valued at 1.26 Trillion Naira
- Automation of business name reservation, submission of registration documents, payment of registration fees, generation of Tax Identification Numbers (TIN), and filing of federal Taxes.
- Implementation of functioning Visa-on-Arrival system for Business Visitors and AU nationals.
- In January 2019, President Buhari launched Nigeria’s Micro Pension Scheme – which allows self-employed persons and persons working in organisations with less than 3 employees to save for the provision of pension at retirement or incapacitation.
- The Buhari Administration is prioritizing the payment of pension arrears owed staff of current and privatized/defunct Federal agencies:
- N54 billion released to settle outstanding 33% pension arrears (the 33% pension arrears date back to 2010 when the minimum wage was increased to N18,000).
- Delta Steel Company (liquidated in 2005): 3,542 pensioners have now been placed on the payroll, ending a 13-year wait for their entitlements.
- NITEL: 9,216 pensioners payrolled, after more than a decade of neglect
- Retired Biafran Police Officers (dismissed by the Federal Government in 1971, after the Civil War ended, and pardoned by President Obasanjo in 2000): President Buhari approved the payment of the pensions, unpaid since their pardon in 2000. N571.56 million was paid to a total of 174 beneficiaries in October 2017
- Nigeria Airways: President Buhari approved the release of N24 billion in September 2018, for the settlement of 50% of workers disengaged when the airline was liquidated in 2003/4.
- Recoveries: The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) has recovered cash and non-cash assets totaling N16 billion previously trapped in various insurance companies and underwriters managing the pension funds of Federal Parastatals and Universities.
MONETARY, FISCAL, TRADE, IMMIGRATION, CONSUMER PROTECTION REFORMS
- Launch of a new Tax Identification Number (TIN) Registration System in 2019. For the first time Nigeria has a consolidated, unified database of all taxpayers (individual and corporate), across all States.
- This new System is the product of increased collaboration between FIRS and States’ Inland Revenue Services (through improved sharing of information, and an integration of databases, among others)
- The new TIN Registration system leverages on existing taxpayer data available from databases of multiple organizations like Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Banks through Bank Verification Number (BVN), National Identity Card Management Commission (NIMC) and others.
- The improved collaboration between FIRS and the various SIRS’ has resulted in an increase in Nigeria’s “Tax Net” (number of paying and non-paying individuals and companies in the Tax Database) from 13 million as at December 2015 to 35 million at the end of 2018, and a projected 45 million by the end of 2019.
- Establishment of the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations by the Economic Management Team (EMT). The NOTN has produced Nigeria’s first Annual National Trade Report, and is compiling, for the first time in Nigeria’s history, a comprehensive database of Nigerian Trade Deals and Agreements.
- The Renminbi-Naira Swap Agreement between the Peoples Bank of China and the Central Bank of Nigeria: On April 27, 2018, the CBN signed a 3-year bilateral currency swap agreement with the Peoples Bank of China (PBoC), worth Chinese Yuan (CNY) 15 billon – equivalent to N720.00 billon or US$2.5 billion.
- Budget proposal submission, which used to be done manually (submissions in hard copy and flash drives) has moved to an online platform, the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), since 2018. The new Budget Submission System significantly improves the transparency and efficiency of the budgeting system.
- Restoration of Federal Budget to January-December cycle, with the 2020 Budget, for the first time in 12 years.
- Installation of the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) – a global travel security standard – in 5 Nigerian International Airports, commencing in late 2019, with the support and collaboration of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
- MIDAS is linked to Local and International Criminal Dabatases / Watchlists (INTERPOL etc), and achieves real-time synchronization of data between all of Nigeria’s International Airports and the NIS Headquarters in Abuja. It ultimately creates a faster and more efficient airport experience, while also ensuring that persons crossing Nigeria’s borders through the Airports do not pose any threats to national and international security.
- Accompanying the installation of MIDAS, is the launch of a New Visa Policy, 2020 by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), as part of a broader 5-year Border Strategy Reform (2019 – 2023).
The new Visa Policy incorporates the following reforms:
- Expansion of Visa Categories from 6 to 79, to reflect and cater to the full range of realities and scenarios for intending travelers to Nigeria.
- Introduction of eVisas, which carry biometric information of visa holders. The eVisa issuance system is linked to MIDAS.
- Automation of Visa Issuance and Payment to reduce human contact and associated corruption.
- The Visa on Arrival Policy expanded to all holders of African Passports starting January 2020.
President Buhari in 2019 assented to the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) Bill, the first legislation in Nigeria’s history focused on curbing anti-competition practices; and the establishment of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
Between 2017 and now, Nigeria has issued its first ever:
- Diaspora Bond, in the International Capital Market. The Diaspora Bond was US$300 million with a tenor of 5-years. The proceeds were used to part–finance the 2017 Budget.
- Sukuk Bond (1st Tranche – 100 billion Naira in 2017; 2nd Tranche of 100 billion Naira in 2018 and 3rd Tranche of 150 billion Naira has just gone on sale in May 2020). The Sukuk Bond proceeds are being used to fund major road projects across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
- The Buhari Administration has issued Nigeria’s first ever Sovereign Green Bonds.
Domestic Borrowing Costs:
- Through the CBN’s policies and directives, Treasury Bill rates – which represent domestic borrowing costs for the Government – have fallen from 16-18 percent per annum in 2017 to 2-6 percent per annum in 2019/2020.
FISCAL SUPPORT TO STATES
- The Buhari Administration has extended more than N2 Trillion Naira in bailout packages to State Governments, to enable them meet their salary and pension obligations, especially in the face of dwindling oil revenues in the first 3 years of the Administration. The support has come in the form of the following:
- Budget Support Facility (Total of N614 billion extended to the States.
- Paris Club Refunds ($5.4 billion)
- Infrastructure Loans
- Loan Restructuring for Facilities with Commercial Banks: In 2015, the DMO restructured Commercial Bank loans with a total value of N575.516 billion for 23 States to reduce the debt service burden on the states. In exchange for their loans to State Governments, the banks were issued 20-year FGN Bonds at a yield of 14.83% per annum. The Restructuring Exercise benefited the States through:
- Reduction in the monthly debt service burden of States from between 55% to 97% for various States;
- Interest rate savings for the States ranging from 3% to 9% per annum;
- Longer repayment period for the loans now converted into Bonds; and,
- Freeing up of needed cash to run the machinery of Government.
- The Buhari Administration has, since 2017, issued a number of landmark Executive Orders:
- Executive Order (001) on Improving Efficiency in the Business Environment
- Executive Order (002) on Promoting Local Procurement by Government Agencies
- Executive Order (005) on planning and execution of projects, promotion of Nigerian content in contracts and science, engineering and technology
- Executive Order (008) on the Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularization Scheme (VOARS)
- Executive Order (007) on Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme
- Executive Order (010) Implementing Financial Autonomy of State Legislature and State Judiciary
- The Buhari Administration has demonstrated a single-minded commitment to upgrading and developing Nigeria’s Transport, Power and Health Infrastructure.
- Three major rail projects inherited from previous administrations have been completed and commissioned: Abuja Metro Rail and the Abuja-Kaduna Rail, and the 327km Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Rail, started in 1987, have been completed in 2020.
- A fourth Rail Project, the Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project, kicked off in 2017, and is due to be completed in 2020. The tracklaying for the main component of the project was completed in March 2020.
- In May 2018, the Federal Government launched the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), under the management of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority. The PIDF kicked off with seed funding of US$650 million, and has already disbursed funds for three critical road projects: Second Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway.
- Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) in March 2018 invested US$11m to establish a world-class Cancer Treatment Center at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), which commenced operations in 2019.
- Work is ongoing on two US$5m Diagnostic Centers in the Aminu Kano University Teaching Hospital and the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia.
- Abuja’s Light Rail system has been completed; it connects the city center with the Airport, and the Abuja-Kaduna Railway Line.
- New Abuja and Port Harcourt International Airport Terminals completed, in Q4 2018. New Lagos and Kano International Airport Terminals scheduled for completion in 2020. All were inherited from the previous administration at various stages of completion, and in some cases required project redesign and revision.
- The Buhari Administration successfully completed the reconstruction of the Abuja Airport runway within the scheduled six-week period (March – April 2017), and will complete the reconstruction of the Enugu International Airport Runway in 2020.
- The following Water Supply Projects and Dam/Irrigation Projects have been completed by the Buhari Administration:
- Central Ogbia Regional Water Project, in Bayelsa
- Sabke/Dutsi/Mashi Water Supply Project, in Katsina
- Northern Ishan Regional Water Supply Project, serving Ugboha and Uromi communities of Edo State.
- Kashimbila Dam, Taraba State
- Ogwashi-Uku Dam, Delta State (Actual Dam completed and reservoir “impounded” in 2016; also spillway discharge channel completed).
- Shagari Dam Irrigation Project, Sokoto State
- Mangu Dam and Regional Water Supply Scheme in Plateau State
- Completion of Phase 1 of Galma Dam, Kaduna
- Rehabilitation of Ojirami Dam Water Supply Project, Edo State
- The 25 Road Projects being funded by the Sukuk Bonds:
- Construction of Oju/Loko–Oweto bridge over River Benue to link Loko (Nasarawa state) and Oweto (Benue state) along route F2384
- Dualisation of Abuja–Abaji–Lokoja Road section I (International Airport link road junction–Sheda Village)
- Dualisation of Suleja–Minna Road in Niger State Phase II (km 40+000-km101+000)
- Dualisation of Abuja–Abaji–Lokoja Road: Section IV Koton Karfe–Lokoja in Kogi State
- Dualisation of Lokoja-Benin Road: Obajana–Okene in Kogi State
- Dualisation of Kano–Maiduguri Road linking Kano–Jigawa–Bauchi–Yobe
- Dualisation of Kano–Maiduguri Road linking Kano–Jigawa–Bauchi–Yobe–Borno States. Section III (Azare–Potiskum) in Bauchi
- Dualisation of Kano–Maiduguri Road linking Kano–Jigawa–Bauchi–Yobe–Borno States. Section IV (Potiskum–Damaturu road) in Yobe
- Dualisation of Kano–Maiduguri Road linking Kano–Jigawa–Bauchi–Yobe–Borno States. Section V (Damaturu–Maiduguri)
- Dualisation of Kano–Maiduguri Road linking Kano–Jigawa–Bauchi–Yobe–Borno States. Section I (Kano–Wudil–Shuari) in Kano
- Dualisation of Kano–Katsina Road Phase I, Kano Town at Dawanau roundabout to Katsina border in Kano
- Construction of Kano Western Bypass as an extension of dualisation of Kano–Maiduguri Road Section I
- Construction of Kaduna Eastern Bypass
- Rehabilitation of outstanding section of Onitsha–Enugu Expressway: Amansea–Enugu border
- Rehabilitation of Enugu–Port Harcourt dual-carriage Section I: Lokpanta–Umuahia in Abia
- Rehabilitation of Enugu–Port Harcourt dual-carriage Section II Umuahia tower–Aba Township Rail
- Rehabilitation of Enugu–Port Harcourt Road Section III: Enugu–Lokpanta
- Rehabilitation of Enugu–Port Harcourt Road Section IV: Aba–Port Harcourt in Rivers
- Dualisation of Yenegwe Road Junction–Kolo–Otuoke–Bayelsa Palm in Bayelsa
- Dualisation of Lokoja–Benin Road: Obajana Junction–Benin Section II Phase I: Okene–Auchi, Kogi/Edo states
- Dualisation of Lokoja–Benin Road: Obajana Junction–Benin Section III Phase I: Auchi–Ehor in Edo
- Dualisation of Lokoja-Benin Road: Obajana junction–Benin Section IV Phase I: Ehor–Benin City, Edo state
- Reconstruction and asphalt overlay of Benin–Ofosu–Ore–Ajebandele–Shagamu dual-carriage Phase IV
- Reconstruction of outstanding section of sections of Benin–Ofusu–Ore–Ajebandele–Shagamu dual-carriage Phase III
- Dualisation of Ibadan–Ilorin Road. Section II: Oyo–Ogbomosho Road in Oyo
- The Federal Government’s Energizing Economies Programme is a public-private partnership led by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), to deliver stable power supply to markets and economic clusters across the country. The initial phase is ongoing in Ariaria Market in Aba, Abia State (32,000 shops), Sura Shopping Complex in Lagos (1,000 shops), Shomolu Printing Community in Lagos (4,000 shops) and the Sabon Gari Market in Kano (12,000 shops). The Sura Shopping Complex project was completed in August 2018, and commissioned by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in October 2018.
- Launch of a 1.3 Trillion Naira Payment Assurance Programmedesigned to resolve the liquidity challenges in the Power Sector by guaranteeing payments to Generating Companies and Gas Suppliers.
- Implementation of a Willing Buyer, Willing Seller Policy for the power sector, which has opened up opportunities for increased delivery of electricity to homes and industries. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has also recently issued an Order capping estimated billing by DisCos.
- More than 90 Transmission Projects completed or ongoing since 2016.
Oil and Gas:
- NNPC is set to commence construction of the 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) natural gas pipeline, which will traverse Kogi, Niger, FCT, Kaduna and Kano, and feed power plants and industries along the corridor. NNPC has paid the 15 percent counterpart funding for the $2.9 billion project, while the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the issuance of a sovereign guarantee to cover the rest of the funding, coming from the China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation.
- Nigeria LNG Limited concluded Final Investment Decision (FID) on its Train 7 project at the end of 2019, and signed an EPC contract for the project in May 2020. A financing arrangement worth 3 billion US dollars was also concluded, the largest financing deal in Africa so far in 2020. NNPC owns a 49 percent stake in NLNG, on behalf of the Nigerian Government.
- Controversial Offshore Processing Arrangement (OPA) has been cancelled and replaced with a ‘Direct Sales and Direct Purchase (DSDP)’ scheme with reputable offshore refineries.
- The Passage of the long overdue Deep Offshore and Inland Basin PSC (Amendment) Act, 2019, which will deliver increased revenues to the Federation.
- Negotiation of the billions of dollars in arrears of Cash Calls we inherited when we assumed office, resulting in an agreement for a significant discount of $1.7 billion. Since 2017 the NNPC has commenced payment of the arrears to the Oil Companies, with a view to clearing the backlog. As at Q4 2018, about $2 billion of the $5.5 billion arrears had been cleared.
- Removal of the fuel subsidy regime and replacement by a market-led price modulation mechanism.
- The Modular Refinery Initiative of the Buhari Administration has delivered 3 completed private sector-led projects, in Rivers, Imo and Delta States, and several others are in progress. Eminent persons like former President Olusegun Obasanjo have publicly commended the success recorded in that sector by the Buhari Administration.
INVESTING IN PEOPLE
- The SIP is the largest and most ambitious social safety net programme in the history of Nigeria, with 12 million direct beneficiaries so far:
- 500,000 N-Power beneficiaries currently enrolled and have been deployed and are receiving N30,000 in monthly stipends. Additional 40,000 are at various stages of enrolment.
Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP):
- ₦36.9 billion so far disbursed in interest-free loans ranging from N50,000 to N350,000 to more than 2.3 million market women, traders, artisans, farmers across all 36 States of the country and the FCT, under GEEP, using locally developed and implemented technology solutions (More than half of the loans have gone to women).
- In terms of advancing the financial inclusion goals of the Buhari Administration, GEEP has led to the opening of 2,023,145 new mobile wallets for beneficiaries.
- In November 2017, GEEP was chosen as the pilot programme for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Policy Innovation Unit in Nigeria.
Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP):
- 9 million Primary 1 – 3 pupils in 54,952 public primary schools in 35 States. More than 107,000 cooks are engaged to deliver these meals.
- The NHGSFP reduces hunger and malnutrition, and improves education outcomes (boosts school enrolment); farmers and produce ‘aggregators’ also benefit from improved access to school feeding markets and communities, and by extension improved incomes.
Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT):
- More than 3 million poor and vulnerable households have been registered on the National Social Register, and more than one million of these families are currently benefiting from the CCT Scheme, which pays N5,000 to each household monthly.
Grants and Disbursements: The Federal Government has disbursed more than 170 billion Naira in UBE Matching Grants to States and the FCT since 2015, 8 billion Naira in Special Education Grant to States and private providers of Special Education, and 34 billion Naira from the Teachers Professional Development Fund to States and the FCT.
Approval for the establishment of the following:
- Federal Maritime University, in Delta State
- Nigerian Army University, in Borno State
- Six new Colleges of Education (one per geopolitical zone)
Transfer of Almajiri Schools built by the previous administration to State Governments and credible Scholars of Islamic Education, for efficient administration and impact.
- Grants to State Governments: A minimum of $2.5 million disbursed to each State of the Federation and the FCT, under the Saving One Million Lives (SOML) initiative, to improve health outcomes.
- Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF): For the first time since the National Health Act was passed in 2014, the Federal Government included the 1% minimum portion of the Consolidated Revenue Fund – amounting to 55 billion Naira – in the 2018 budget, to fund the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF). The Fund is designed to deliver a guaranteed set health services to all Nigerians, through the national network of Primary Health Care centers.
- Passage of Enabling Legislation for the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), for the first time since it was founded in 2011. President Buhari approved a grant of 5 billion Naira for the NCDC in March 2020.
- Tertiary Healthcare Upgrade Programme: A number of key Federal Hospitals across the country are being upgraded to effectively manage cancer and other major health challenges. Cancer Radiotherapy machines and other equipment are being provided to these hospitals. The National Hospital in Abuja has already received two LINAC (cancer treatment) machines.
Sports and Creative Industry
- Nigeria national U-17 football team, the Golden Eaglets, won the FIFA U-17 World Cup for the fifth time, in 2015. Their first ever win was 30 years earlier, in 1985, when President Buhari was military Head of State.
- Nigeria’s participation at the 2016 Paralympic Games yielded her best gold medal result since Nigeria started taking part in the Games in 1992.
- D’ Tigress, Nigeria’s Female National Basketball Team won the 2017 FIBA Africa Women’s Championship, the continental championship Cup, for the first time in 12 years, and earned qualification for its first FIBA Women’s World Cup appearance since 2006.
- In 2018, D’ Tigress, Nigeria’s Female National Basketball Team earned its first-ever win at the FIBA Women’s World Cup, and went on to advance to the quarterfinals. The Team finished in 8th place – the best ever performance by an African Team.
- In 2019, D’ Tigress successfully defended its 2017 Afro Basketball Women Championship Title.
- In 2020, D’ Tigress became the only female African Team to qualify for participation in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
- Nigeria’s Women’s Football Team, the Super Falcons, won the African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) in 2016 and 2018.
- In 2018, the National Sports Festival held for the first time since 2012.
- In 2018, Nigeria hosted a FIFA Executive Football Summit, one of twelve worldwide.
- In 2019, the Super Falcons advanced to the group stage of the Women’s World Cup, for the first time in 20 years.
- In 2019, Nigeria won its first Athletics World Championship Medal in six years.
Creative Industry Support
- Establishment of the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI), by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, to provide single-digit financing to young Nigerians in the fields of Fashion, Film, Music and Information Technology.
- In 2019, the Federal Government added Creative Industries to the list of qualifying sectors for ‘Pioneer Status’ Incentives – which grants relief from Corporate Income Tax for a specified period of time.
- Presidential Approval for the handover of the National Theatre, Lagos, to the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers Committee, for redevelopment into a world-class Creative Park serving the theatre, film, fashion, music, and ICT sectors.
- In 2017, Nigeria was elected Vice-President of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
NEW VISION FOR THE NIGER DELTA
The Buhari administration’s ‘New Vision for the Niger Delta’ brings together a robust set of promises, solutions, targets and initiatives aimed at ensuring that the people of the Niger Delta benefit maximally from the region’s oil wealth.
The New Vision offers a detailed response to the 16-point Demand Agenda submitted to President Buhari by the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) in November 2016.
Tangible results of the New Vision so far include:
- Take-off of the Nigerian Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State. The University was granted approval in January 2018 by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to commence undergraduate degree programmes effective 2017/18 session, and commenced academic activities on April 12, 2018.
- President Buhari approved 5 billion Naira in take-off grant for the Maritime University.
- Ogoni Clean-Up: Setting aside of US$170m seed funding for the Ogoni Clean Up, in an Escrow Account established for that purpose. The Escrow Agreement Signing Ceremony took place in April 2018. The Clean-Up commenced in January 2019, with the handover of the first batch of sites to the selected remediation firms, after a painstaking procurement process.
- Approvals for the establishment of private-sector-led Modular Refineries across the nine States of the Niger Delta – the first three Refineries have now been completed, while construction is ongoing on others.
ANTI-CORRUPTION & TRANSPARENCY
FISCAL REFORMS; PLUGGING LEAKAGES
New Whistleblowing Policy:
- The new Whistleblowing Policy introduced by the Federal Ministry of Finance in December 2016 has since then yielded several billions of Naira in recoveries from tax evaders and public officials. (In the first two years alone it yielded 8 billion, US$378million, and £27,800 in recoveries from public officials targeted by whistleblowers).
- Development of draft Whistleblowing and Witness Protection Bill 2019
- EFCC recovered 794 billion Naira between 2015 and 2019, in addition to hundreds of properties and other assets.
- ICPC scrutiny of practices, systems and procedures of MDAs’ personnel cost from 2017 to 2019, yielded more than 41 billion Naira in recoveries from inflated personnel budgets.
- In 2019 alone, ICPC recovered 32 billion Naira worth of Land, Buildings and Vehicles.
- ICPC’s audit of Constituency Projects covering 2015 to 2018 helped recover 2 billion Naira of diverted funds and assets.
Increased Oversight of MDAs
The Buhari Administration is addressing the issue of poor levels of remittance of operating surpluses by MDAs. From remitting only N51 million between 2010 and 2016, JAMB has gone on to remit more than 20 billion Naira to the Federal Government since 2017.
The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA):
- PICA was set up by the Buhari Administration to strengthen controls over Government finances through a continuous internal audit process across all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), particularly in respect of payroll. Through the activities of PICA, more than 54,000 fraudulent payroll entries have been identified and removed, with payroll savings of N200 billion per annum.
Expansion of TSA Coverage:
- OnAugust 7, 2015, President Buhari issued a directive to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to close their accounts with Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and transfer their balances to the Central Bank of Nigeria on or before 15th September 2015.
- The TSA system was launched in 2012, but failed to gain traction until President Buhari’s executive order in August 2015.As of May 2018, the TSA system has been implemented in 92 percent of all MDAs.
- The TSA allows managers of Government’s finances, including but not limited to the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, to have, at any point in time, a comprehensive overview of cash flows across the entire Government.
- This decision to fully operationalize the Treasury Single Account (TSA) system—a public accounting system that enables the Government to manage its finances (revenues and payments) using a single/unified account, or series of linked accounts domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria — has resulted in the consolidation of more than 17,000 bank accountspreviously spread across DMBs in the country, and in savings of an average of N4 billion monthly in banking charges.
- The TSA has brought the following benefits:
- Improves transparency and accountability in the management of all FGN receipts by providing a consolidated view of Government’s cash flow.
- Blocks the leakages and abuses which hitherto characterized Public Finance Management in Nigeria.
- Ensures availability of funds for the execution of government policies, programmes and projects
- Controls aggregate cash flows within fiscal and monetary limits
- Improves management of domestic borrowing programme
- Enables investments of idle funds
- The Ministry of Finance continues to fine-tune the system to improve its efficiency, and has also commenced an audit to ensure that all funds due to the TSA are remitted into it.
Expansion of IPPIS Coverage
In spite of great opposition, the Buhari Administration has expanded IPPIS coverage to the Armed Forces, as well as Federal Universities and other academic institutions.
Deployment of BVN for Payroll and Social Investment Programmes:
- Considering that personnel costs are the Federal Government’s largest expenditure line, the Federal Government has given priority to the deployment of the BVN for payroll and pension audits. The use of BVN to verify payroll entries on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) platform has so far led to the detection of 54,000 fraudulent payroll entries.
- The Federal Government has also ensured the deployment of BVN system to serve as the verification basis for payments to beneficiaries and vendors in the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), the N-Power Scheme and the Homegrown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP)
Creation of Asset Tracking and Management Project
- The Federal Ministry of Finance launched the Asset Tracking and Management Project (ATM Project) in 2016. By the ATM Project, the Federal Government is, for the first time, able to locate, identify, assess and evaluate all its moveable and immoveable assets on a real time basis.
- Also, a Central Asset Register was created and domiciled in the Ministry for recording the actual quantity, value, condition and location of all the capital assets belonging to the Federal Government. These initiatives are in line with the requirements of the International Public-Sector Reporting Standard (IPSAS), which has been implemented by the Ministry of Finance.
Replacement of old Cash-Based Accounting System with an Accruals-Based System:
- Accruals-based accounting, in addition to providing greater transparency in public financial management, provides comprehensive information on Government’s current and projected cash flows, leading to better cash management. For example, the conversion from cash accounting to accrual accounting led to the discovery of unrecorded debts owed contractors, oil marketers, exporters, electricity distribution companies and others.
Enlistment into Open Government Partnership (OGP):
- In May 2016, President Buhari attended and participated in the International Anti-Corruption Summit organised by the UK Government. At that Summit he pledged that Nigeria would join the OGP, an international transparency, accountability and citizen engagement initiative.
- In July 2016, Nigeria became the 70th country to join the OGP. Following this, Nigeria constituted an OGP National Steering Committee (NSC), which went on to develop a National Action Plan (2017–2019) that aims to deepen and mainstream transparency mechanisms and citizens’ engagement in the management of public resources across all sectors.
- In 2018, Nigeria was elected to lead the OGP, alongside Argentina, France, and Romania. All four new members of the OGP Steering Committee will serve for three years starting on October 1, 2018.
Creation of Efficiency Unit (EU) to spearhead the efficient use of government resources, and ensure reduction in Recurrent Expenditure:
- The Efficiency Unit was set up in November 2015, to reduce wastages, promote efficiency, ensure prudence and add value for money in all government expenditures.
- The Unit monitors Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government, identifying and eliminating wasteful spending, duplication and other inefficiencies, and identifying best practices in procurement and financial management
Establishment of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC)
- PACAC was established by President Buhari in August 2015 to, among other things; promote the reform agenda of the government on the anti-corruption effort, and advise the present administration in the prosecution of the war against corruption and the implementation of required reforms in Nigeria’s criminal justice system. It was the very first committee the President set up after he was sworn into office.
- PACAC has empowered Judges and Prosecutors to operate effectively in carrying out their responsibilities through Workshops on the new Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
- PACAC has:
- Trained both Federal and States Prosecutors on proper drafting of charges.
- Helped anti-corruption agencies devise clearer strategies for obtaining forfeiture of assets suspected to have been acquired fraudulently, mainly from State Coffers, before prosecuting suspected culprits. Part of this work has involved painstakingly reviewing existing Laws (like the Money Laundering Act, 2004, the EFCC Act, 2004 and the ICPC Act, 2000), to identify and highlight sections directly conferring powers of forfeiture on Nigeria’s anticorruption agencies. This advocacy has led to a significant increase in the use of Non-Conviction Based Asset Forfeiture Mechanisms by anti-corruption agencies;
- Organized workshops for the Management and Protection of Assets, and recommended the establishment of a Central Asset Management Committee – the Presidential Committee on Asset Recovery (PCAR), headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, which superintends a dedicated Central Bank Account that receives all recovered funds, for coordination and transparency of management and oversight.
- Produced manuals, protocols and Standard Operating Procedures to assist ACAs in their work. These include the Corruption Case Management Manual; the Plea Bargaining Manual; Sentencing Guidelines in High Profile Cases; the Framework for the Management of Recovered Stolen Assets, Asset Recovery Strategy Document, Corruption Case Management Manual; Framework for the Management of Recovered Stolen Assets; etc.
- Drafted a Bill for the establishment of Special Crimes Court
- Initiated the whistle blower policy of the Federal Government (see Whistleblower Policy for details)
Domestic Legislation & International Agreements
- President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, an Executive Bill, into law in 2019, following passage by the National Assembly. The Bill facilitates the identification, tracing, freezing, restraining, recovery, forfeiture and confiscation of proceeds, property and other instrumentalities of crime, as well as the prosecution of offenders in criminal cases regardless of where in the world they might be.
- Nigeria has signed Agreements and MOUs with various countries to boost international cooperation for the investigation, tracking, freezing and return of stolen assets.
- The completion, in 2019, of the first fundamental reform of the Nigeria Prisons Act in almost 50 years, resulting in the establishment of the Nigerian Correctional Service to replace the Nigerian Prisons Service.
- Launch of New Prison Information Management System: The Pilot Project was completed at Kuje Prison, and launched in July 2017 with the installation of a new data management system (the first of its kind in any prison in Nigeria), as well as Hardware equipment (computers, server, LAN connectivity, webcams, etc). National rollout being worked on. Deployment will be in 86 Nigeria Correctional Service locations across 16 States.
- Also as part of Criminal Justice Reforms, President Buhari in 2020 granted amnesty to 2,600 prisoners nationwide, representing about 3.5 percent of all inmates, in a bid to decongest Nigeria’s prison population. The beneficiaries were those 60 years and above; those suffering from ill-health that might likely lead to death; convicts serving three years and above and have less than six months to serve; inmates with mental health defect; and inmates with a pending fine not exceeding N50,000 and with no pending cases.
- Nigeria’s Law Enforcement Agencies have significantly scaled up their footprint across the country – Operation Whirl Stroke in the North Central, Operation Ex-Swift Response in border areas, several new Forward Operating Bases, Quick Response Wings, Commando Training Schools, and so on, and deployments of Special Forces. The Buhari Administration has rolled out the most significant response to Nigeria’s multifaceted security challenges, since 1999.
- Increased Investments in Arms and Weapons: Government to Government military deals with the Governments of the US, China, Russia, Pakistan, and so on have helped eliminate expensive and opaque middlemen. In April 2020, a first batch of 17 military vehicles (VT-4 main battle tanks, ST-1 wheeled tank destroyers, self-propelled howitzers etc) arrived from China, for the fight against Boko Haram.
- Nigerian Air Force has acquired 22 brand new aircraft since President Buhari assumed office in 2015, and is expecting another 16 (including the 12 Super Tucano currently on order from the United States Government, and due for delivery starting 2021). The NAF is also locally re-activating several previously unserviceable planes.
- President Buhari resuscitated the Ministry of Police Affairs in 2019, to oversee the development and implementation of strategies to enhance internal security in Nigeria
- President Buhari approved the recruitment of 10,000 new Police Officers annually.
- President Buhari signed into law, in 2019, the Bill establishing the Police Trust Fund, which will significantly improve funding for the Nigeria Police Force.
- Nigeria Police Force launched a new National Command and Control Center in Abuja in 2019
- President Buhari has approved and implemented new Salary Packages for the Military and Police.
- Establishment of Operation Whirl Stroke in May 2018, to curtail violence in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa States. OPWS has recorded remarkable success in tackling armed herders, cultists, kidnappers and bandits in its sphere of operation, and brought tension levels down from the escalated levels seen in 2017/2018.
- Revitalization of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), aimed at combating trans-border crime and the Boko Haram insurgency.
- El-Kanemi Warriors Football Club returned to their home base in Maiduguri in April 2016, two years after relocating to Katsina State because of the insurgency
- Emirs of Askira and Uba returned home in May 2016, two years after fleeing their Palaces on account of the Boko Haram insurgency
- Public Secondary Schools resumed in Borno State on Monday September 26, 2016, after two years of closure
- Maiduguri-Gubio and Maiduguri-Monguno Roads reopened in December 2016, after being closed for three years.
- Capture of Boko Haram’s operational and spiritual headquarters, “Camp Zero”, in Sambisa Forest, in December 2016. Following this the Nigerian Army conducted its Small Arms Championship from 26th to 31st March 2017, a measure aimed at enabling the Armed forces to dominate the area, and avoid regrouping by the terrorists.
- Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Borno State Chapter declared the 2017 Easter Celebrations as the best and safest since 2009.
- Arik Air resumed flights to Maiduguri in May 2017, three years after suspending operations to the city.
- Nigerian Military reopened Maiduguri-Bama-Banki Road in March 2018, four years after it was seized by Boko Haram.
- More than a million displaced persons have returned to their homes and communities across the Northeast, since 2015.
- Thousands of hostages have been freed from Boko Haram captivity, including 106 of the Chibok Girls abducted in April 2014, and 105 of the Dapchi Girls abducted in February 2018.
North Central and North West
- In May 2018 the Defence Headquarters kicked off ‘Operation Whirl Stroke’ (OPWS) – featuring a Joint Military Intervention Force (JMIF), comprising Regular and Special Forces personnel from the Army, Air Force and Navy, and working in collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security (DSS), and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) – to counter armed herdsmen and militia groups operating in and around Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba States. OPWS has been very successful in restoring calm to its area of coverage.
- Reorganization of existing Security Operations targeting banditry, kidnapping and other crimes in the North West led to establishment of Operation Hadarin Daji (OPHD) by Defence Headquarters in May 2019.
- Establishment in 2019 of Joint Task Force Operation THUNDER STRIKE (JTF OPTS) by Defence Headquarters to tackle kidnappers, bandits, cattle rustlers, and other criminal activities along major highways and adjoining villages around Kaduna-Abuja axis.
- Establishment by Nigerian Air Force of Quick Response Wings (QRW) in Benue (21 QRW), Nasarawa (22 QRW), Taraba (23 QRW) and Katsina States, and a Quick Response Group in Zamfara State (QRG 207), and deployment of Special Forces to these QRWs/QRG.
- Nigerian Air Force has also established Forward Operations Bases (FOB) in Kaduna and Katsina States
- Flag-off of Nigerian Army 2 Battalion Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Kanfanin Doka Village, Birnin-Gwari, Kaduna State.
- Training and deployment of hundreds of Special Forces personnel by the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Air Force
DIPLOMACY AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Re-establishment of Nigeria’s position and influence in the regional and global arena. Fragile/broken relations with the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, and with neighbouring countries (Chad, Niger, Cameroon) have been revived and strengthened since June 2015.
Nigeria’s prominent participation in the London Anti-Corruption Summit and the Commonwealth Conference on Tackling Corruption, in May, 2016 in London.
Major outcomes/results/manifestations of Nigeria’s renewed visibility and respect on the International Stage:
- The positions of Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Secretary-General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), African Development Bank, and African Export–Import Bank are all currently held by Nigerians.
- The signing, in August 2016, of an MoU with the UK Government on modalities for the return of Nigeria’s stolen assets in the UK.
- The establishment of a Global Forum for Asset Recovery (GFAR), hosted by the governments of the US and UK in December 2017, to focus on assisting Nigeria and three other countries to reclaim their stolen assets.
- Nigeria joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in 2016 and developed a National Action Plan, which is already being implemented.
- In 2016 Nigeria signed an Agreement on the identification and repatriation of Illicit Funds with the United Arab Emirates during President Buhari’s Visit to that country.
- The Federal Government under President Buhari has successfully engaged the governments of Switzerland, Jersey Island, United States, United Arab Emirates, and Liechtenstein among others, in an effort to ensure the repatriation of Nigeria’s stolen assets.
- A total of US$622 million in looted Abacha funds repatriated to Nigeria in two tranches in December 2017 and April 2020. The first tranche ($322m) is being disbursed as part of the Buhari Administration’s Social Investment Programme interventions, while the second tranche ($311m) is being invested in the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), managed by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
- Under President Buhari’s watch, Nigeria has been playing an active and stabilizing role in OPEC. In 2017 Nigeria was able to successfully negotiate a vital exemption from production cuts agreed at the time, a move that helped shore up revenues and foreign reserves.
- The Buhari Administration has mobilized International Support for the War against Boko Haram, forging strong partnerships with key countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, ECOWAS, the AU, the UN, and others. After years of stalemate, the United States finally agreed to sell – and has sold – weapons to Nigeria, (12 Super Tucano Aircraft)
- Revamp of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) comprising troops from Nigeria and Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin.
- The designation of President Buhari as the African Union (AU) Anti-Corruption Champion for 2018
- The designation of President Buhari by ECOWAS Heads of State as West Africa’s Covid-19 Champion in 2020.
- President Buhari’s interventions have helped restore and strengthen democracy in The Gambia and Guinea Bissau. He authorized the deployment of troops, fighter jets and warships to The Gambia during the impasse that followed the December 2016 Presidential elections.
- Successful evacuation and repatriation of more than 10,000 Nigerian migrants from Libya, with the support and partnership of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
- Billions of dollars in concessional infrastructure funding for critical road and rail projects. President Buhari’s April 2016 official visit to China has unlocked billions of dollars in infrastructure funding, primarily for road and rail projects;
- Implementation of a Chinese Yuan (CNY) 15 billion Currency Swap Agreement between the Peoples Bank of China and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
- Support for the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI), six-year Programme to modernise Nigeria’s electricity grid, under a Government-to-Government framework between the Nigerian and German Governments; to be managed and implemented by Siemens AG.
- Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and Petkus Technologie of Germany, aimed at significantly reducing the incidence/impact of post-harvest losses in Nigeria’s Agriculture Value Chain.
- Signing of a MoU with Volkswagen of South Africa (VWSA) to develop a joint vision for an automotive hub in Nigeria.
UNITED STATES (USA)
- Renewed cooperation in Security and Anti-Corruption. The US Government has approved the sale of 12 Super Tucano Aircraft to Nigeria, as well as repatriation of recovered looted monies and assets stashed in the US.
- Nigerian and United States militaries collaborated to host, April 2018 in Abuja, the 2018 African Land Forces Summit, the largest gathering of African Army chiefs, to discuss cooperation aimed at improving security on the continent.
UNITED KINGDOM (UK)
- 2018: Nigeria commenced the implementation of Automatic Exchange of Tax Information (AETI) protocol with the United Kingdom. This Protocol will provide the Nigerian Government with data on bank accounts, property and trusts held in the UK by Nigerian nationals, and will support the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) by allowing Nigerian tax authorities to check the accuracy of declarations received regarding overseas assets and income.
- 2018: Launch of a UK-Government funded £13 million education programme that will provide training for teachers, school equipment, and security for schools, for 100,000 children living in parts of the Northeast affected by Boko Haram.
The SA-Nigeria Bi-National Commission was in 2019 elevated from Vice Presidential to Presidential Level, as a symbol of a renewed commitment to cooperation between Africa’s two largest economies.
- The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, PFI(which involves a partnership with the Government of Morocco, for the supply of phosphate, as well as technical assistance), has resulted in the revitalization of 14 blending plants across Nigeria.
- As part of the PFI, in 2018 Nigeria and Morocco signed a Memorandum of Understanding (between OCP of Morocco and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority) on the establishment of a Basic Chemicals Platform, specifically to develop a significant Ammonia Production Plant in the Niger Delta.
- Government-to-Government Arms Deal involving the supply of 12 Attack Helicopters to Nigeria
- Resuscitation Deal for the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill, agreed by Presidents Buhari and Putin, during the Russia Africa Summit in 2019. The Russian Government has agreed to support the completion and full operationalization of the plant.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE):
- Nigeria has signed and ratified an Extradition Treaty with the United Arab Emirates that allows extradition of Nigerians who flee to the UAE after committing crimes in Nigeria.
- The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has seen inflows of around US$2 billion under the Buhari Administration. These are the first government inflows since the original US$1 billion which the Fund kicked off with in 2012.
- Relations with Saudi Arabia have greatly improved. During the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in 2019, President Buhari met separately and held extensive talks with the King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, MBS; as well as the leadership of ARAMCO and the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund.
- One of the outcomes of the Saudi Visit was the agreement by the two governments to set up a joint Saudi-Nigeria Strategic Council, made up of government officials and businessmen from both countries, and which will focus on economic growth and development, investments in oil and non-oil sectors, and security cooperation.
“In Nigeria, we are taking a two-step approach. First, to protect the lives of our fellow Nigerians and residents living here and second, to preserve the livelihoods of workers and business owners to ensure their families get through this very difficult time in dignity and with hope and peace of mind.” – President Buhari
- The Federal Government of Nigeria is rolling out several measures and directives on healthcare, border security, and fiscal and monetary policies in response to the pandemic. More measures are coming.
- The President has set up an Economic Sustainability Committee chaired by Vice President Osinbajo, to develop a comprehensive economic plan to respond to the disruptions and dislocations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The President has also set up a Presidential Task Force on #COVID-19, chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, with Dr. Sani Aliyu as the National Coordinator. The PTF is coordinating Nigeria’s multi-sectoral inter-governmental approach to COVID-19.
- The President also set up a Committee made up of the Minister and Minister of State of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 Budget and to recommend appropriate and immediate response strategies.
President Buhari has also approved the following:
- Establishment of a 500 billion Naira COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund, for the upgrading of health facilities nationwide, finance a national Special Public Works Programme, as well as any other interventions that may be approved in the future.
- Release of special intervention grants of 10 billion Naira and 5 billion Naira to the Lagos State Government and the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) respectively, to facilitate the Covid-19 Response.
- Immediate Release of 70,000 Metric Tonnes of Grain for distribution to poor and vulnerable households across the country.
- Establishment of a Joint Technical Task Team to facilitate the movement of food and agricultural inputs across Nigeria, during the Coronavirus lockdown.
- Commencement of a three-month repayment moratorium for all TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans, with immediate effect.
- Commencement of a three-month moratorium for all Federal Government funded loans issued by the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Nigeria Export Import Bank.
- Presidential directive for immediate Expansion of National Social Register (official database for implementation of the Conditional Cash Transfer programme) by 1 million additional households.
- Implementation of Modified version of National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, to deliver dry food rations to households of pupils already benefiting from the NHGSFP.
Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)