2nd Niger bridge, Lagos-Ibadan expressway to be completed before 2023 – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja assured Nigerians that the 11.9km Second Niger Bridge, 120 km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and other key projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) will be completed within the second term of this administration.
The President gave the assurance at the opening of a two-day Mid-Term Ministerial Performance Review Retreat organized to assess progress made towards the achievement of the nine key priorities of this Administration.
He used the occasion of the retreat, the third edition since the second term of his administration, to highlight some of the Federal Government’s notable achievements in the last two years.
He listed accomplishments in the areas of infrastructure, transportation, economy, electricity supply, the petroleum industry, among others.
‘‘On transportation, we are growing the stock and quality of our road, rail, air and water transport infrastructure.
‘‘The PIDF projects are also advancing remarkably. These include the 11.9km Second Niger Bridge, 120 km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, 375 km Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Expressway and the East West Road. Most of these projects are expected to be completed within this 2nd term of our Administration,’’ he said.
President Buhari expressed delight that over the past two years, Ministers have rendered reports to the Federal Executive Council on their activities related to the achievement of their Ministerial Mandates.
‘‘Some of the notable achievements include the establishment of InfraCo Plc in 2020, as a world class infrastructure development vehicle, wholly focused on Nigeria, with combined debt and equity take-off capital of N15 trillion, to be managed by an independent infrastructure fund manager.
‘‘The Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund was also established in 2020 with more than USD 1Billion in funding.
‘‘In addition, we have launched the Nigeria Innovation Fund by the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). This is aimed at addressing investment opportunities in the domestic technology sector: data networking, datacenters, software, Agri-tech, Bio-tech, and more,’’ he said.
Furthermore, President Buhari noted that his administration had made tremendous progress on railway projects in the country, noting that upgrading of the railway network is being extended with the recent completion of the Lagos – Ibadan line.
‘‘The Itakpe-Ajaokuta rail line has finally been completed and commissioned after 30 years of its conception.
‘‘Work is expected to commence very soon on the Port-Harcourt Maiduguri line and Calabar – Lagos Coastal Line to connect the Southern and Eastern States of our Country. Progress is also being made on the upgrading of our Airports, with the state-of-the-art facilities in line with world class safety standards,’’ he said.
On the economy, the President said the nation witnessed three consecutive quarters of growth, after negative growth rates recorded in the second and third quarters of 2020.
‘‘The GDP grew from 0.8% in 2017 to 2.2% in 2019, but declined in the first quarter of 2020, as a result of the downward trend in global economic activities triggered by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
‘‘As at Second Quarter 2021, GDP growth rate was at 5.01%, the highest since the inception of this Administration.
On security, President Buhari announced that the Ministry of Defence has been instructed to create a modest military industrial complex for the local production of weapons to meet some of the requirements of the country’s armed forces.
The President explained that the establishment of the industrial complex would address Nigeria’s over-dependence on other countries for military equipment and logistics.
He said the project is being implemented under the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), a military department responsible for arms manufacture.
On other efforts to strengthen national security, the President said it was gratifying to note that Nigeria has received six A-29 Super Tucano.
He said the propeller-driven aircraft are being used for training, surveillance and attack by the military.
‘‘As part of the efforts towards strengthening our national security, we have increased investments in arms, weapons and other necessary equipment; expanded the National Command and Control Centre to nineteen states of the Federation; and established a Nigerian Police Trust Fund, which will significantly improve funding for the Nigeria Police Force.
‘‘We have also approved the sum of N13.3 billion for the take-off of the Community Policing initiative across the Country, as part of measures adopted to consolidate efforts aimed at enhancing security nationwide,’’ he said.
On the Power Sector, President Buhari noted that the implementation of a ‘Willing Buyer-Willing Seller’ Policy has opened up opportunities for increased delivery of electricity to underserved homes and industries.
He expressed the hope that the execution of critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme, will result in achieving the national goal of improved power supply by 2025.
On the Petroleum Industry Act signed into law on 16th August 2021, the President reiterated his directive to the Implementation Committee to complete all processes for the successful operationalization of the Act within 12 months.
On efforts to empower the youth and other vulnerable groups by enhancing investments in the Social Intervention Programmes, the President said he has approved the expansion of the National Social Register (NSP) by 1 million additional households.
The NSP is the official database for the implementation of the Conditional Cash Transfer programme.
‘‘We have established the N75 billion Nigerian Youth Investment Fund created to boost the Nigerian economy through leverage and access to finance for youths.
‘‘The Fund should serve as a catalyst to unleash the potential of the youth and to enable them to build businesses that will stimulate economic growth and create jobs. These accomplishments are a testament to the fact that all hands are on deck in establishing a solid foundation for even greater successes in future,’’ he said.
The President warned all ministers and permanent secretaries to take seriously all issues relating to the implementation of their mandates towards the attainment of the laudable objectives of this Government.
The President concluded his address at the opening of the retreat with the unveiling of the Presidential Priorities Performance Management System.
He explained that the Performance Management System and Dashboard, which has been in effect since January this year, had provided him the opportunity to track projects in real-time with live data.
‘‘In our continuing drive to ensure accountability, we have incorporated a Performance Management Framework into the functions of the Central Delivery Coordination Unit for ease of tracking of the Ministerial Deliverables along the lines of the 9 priority areas of this administration.
‘‘This initiative has provided me the opportunity to track the performance of all Ministries and by extension my Administration.
‘‘ This process has been in effect since January 2021 and today it gives me great pleasure to unveil the Performance Management System and Dashboard to track projects in real-time with live data and early warning system to proactively resolve bottlenecks,’’ he said.
In view of the importance of this year’s retreat, President Buhari announced that he would sit through all the sessions to listen to the cumulative assessment of this administration’s performance over the last 2 years.
Equally, the President would join in discussions on the best approach and strategies to implement planned policies, programmes and projects that can significantly diversify the economy away from its dependence on oil revenue, while sustaining the current economic growth trajectory.