Buhari blames past administrations for the nation’s economic woes2mins read

Promises to use oil earnings judiciously

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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in his speech to mark Nigeria’s 59th Independence Anniversary in Abuja blamed previous governments for the economic woes experienced in the country; he, however, noted that the country is recovering.

The President in his speech was critical of past administrations for their failure to invest in the non -oil sectors of the economy despite the high economic growth at the time which would have created more jobs across the country.

“This Administration inherited a skewed economy, where the oil sector comprised only 8 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, GDP, but contributed 70 per cent of government revenue and 90 per cent foreign exchange earnings over the years.

“Past periods of relatively high economic growth were driven by our reliance on oil sector revenues to finance our demand for imported goods and services,” he hinted in his speech.

“Regrettably, previous governments abandoned the residual Investment-driven Non-Oil Sector, which constituted 40 per cent of Gross Domestic Product and comprised agriculture, livestock, agro-processing, arts, entertainment, mining and manufacturing activities that provide millions of jobs for able-bodied Nigerians and utilize locally available raw materials and labour for production,” he said.

He also expressed the desire of his administration’s to significantly save the country’s oil incomes and increase investments in its non- oil sector to build Nigeria’s critical infrastructure

“Learning from the mistakes of the past, this Administration is committed to responsibly managing our oil wealth endowments. We will continue to prudently save our oil income and invest more in the non-oil job-creating sectors,” he said.

On the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, he promised to facilitate the process speedily in a bid to promote private sector investments.

“We will be working with the Legislature soon to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill and amendments to the Deep Offshore Act and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act into law, to ensure Government obtains a fair share of oil revenues, whilst encouraging private sector investment,” he said.

Buhari maintained that his administration would also continue the fight against illegal bunkering of crude oil and the smuggling of refined petroleum products across the borders.

He said this would include the diligent prosecution and conviction of offenders found guilty of these acts.

“Whilst Nigeria remains committed to free and fair continental and international trade, we will not hesitate to take all necessary steps to tackle illegal smuggling, transhipment and other predatory trade practices that destroy jobs in our country.

“We will also continue our fight against illegal bunkering of crude oil and the smuggling of refined petroleum products across our borders, including the diligent prosecution and conviction of offenders found guilty of these acts,” he added.

He emphasised that the country was on the verge of recovery from the recession it fell into in 2015 attributing the success to his economic plan.

“This medium-term development plan charted the trajectory for our economy to exit from recession and return to the path of sustainable, diversified and inclusive growth for Nigerians.
“Pursuant to these reforms, the economy has recovered and we have had 9 successive quarters of growth since our exit from recession. The exchange rate in the last 3 years has remained stable, with robust reserves of $42.5 billion, up from $23 billion in October 2016,” he said.

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