Chris Steven, Abuja
Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, has said that Buhari Administration is working and the results are showing in the various sectors of the economy.
Speaking at the 4th Annual Conference of the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN) in Kano on Wednesday, Mohammed said that pulling Nigeria out of recession was not by accident.
“Taking Nigeria out of recession did not happen by accident. It is the culmination of months of hard work by the Administration and fidelity to its well-articulated economic policies, especially the Strategic Implementation Economic Recovery (2016) and the Growth Plan (ERGP) that was launched on 5th April, 2017,” he said.
He listed some of the ”incrementally-positive steps” that got Nigeria out of recession as including the reversal of the consistent slowdown since 20014 to a level where the GDP finally grew by 0.55% in the second quarter of 2017
”This positive growth is attributable to both the oil and non-oil sectors of the economy. Growth in the oil sector, which has been negative since Q4 2015, was positive in Q2 2017. It rose by 1.64% as compared to -15.60 in Q1 2017, an increase of up to 17 percentage points.
”The non-oil sector grew by 0.45% in Q2 2017, a second successive quarterly growth after growing 0.72% in Q1 2017. In particular, improvement in the non-oil sector was driven principally by strong growth in agriculture and solid minerals sector, and reversal in the previous contraction of the manufacturing and construction sector. This shows that the government’s economic diversification programme is working,” he said.
The Minister listed other positive developments as a fall in the inflation rate from 18% to 16% as of July 2017; the rise in exports, coupled with a decrease in imports, which brought the country’s trade balance to ₦719.4 billion, up from ₦671.3 billion; increase in capital inflow that brought the total value of capital imported into Nigeria in the second quarter of 2017 to $1,792.3 million, representing a growth of 95.02 percent; increase in foreign reserves to a 30-month high of $31.8 billion in July 2017; and appreciation in exchange rate from N520/$ as at 20 February 2017 to N362/$ as at 17th August 2017.
He also listed some of the various impactful programmes of the Administration as including the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, which today feeds 3,065,000 pupils in 14 states of the Federation pupils and has employed 36,000 Cooks across the country; the Conditional Cash Transfer that has seen about over 30,000 households benefit from the N5,000 monthly stipend; the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme under which about 120,000 people have benefited from the cooperative loans; and the N-power that has employed 200,000 people.
He said the high food prices are being addressed with appropriate monetary, fiscal and trade policies, as stated in the ERGP.
Mohammed reiterated his earlier statement that the purveyors of hate speech, fake news and disinformation are working hard to obliterate the glaring achievements of the Administration.
”To naysayers, these positive developments do not constitute news. That’s why they make up their own fake news, and engage in disinformation and hate speech. They believe that by seeking to overwhelm the polity with fake news, disinformation and hate speech, they can easily obliterate the glaring achievements of the Buhari Administration. We must not allow them to dominate the media space,” he said