The Federal government’s fight against corruption has brought in more than N800 billion in returned loot, President muhammadu Buhari announced on Friday on the occasion of democracy Day.
Anti-corruption authorities have also secured more than 1,400 convictions,he said on the self-assessment program.
The recovered amounts, he said, “are ploughed into development and infrastructure projects.””
He said the government “continues to implement accountability and transparent policies through the Open government partnership and financial transaction transparency portal” ” and is strengthening audit and accountability mechanisms to ensure strict compliance with “rules and regulations.”
The President said the national economy was already making steady progress until the COVID-19 pandemic started and destroyed the gains.
But he said the presidential task force on COVID-19 was determined to ensure that the pandemic “does not overwhelm our health systems, while ensuring that we maintain an effective case management system to help contain the spread of the virus.”
As part of efforts to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, it said it ” employed 774,000 Nigerians.”
Young people will be involved in a special public works program aimed at mitigating the effects of the economic downturn.
Each of the 774 local government districts in the country will be allocated 1,000 seats.
He said the government ” will turn this COVID-19 challenge into a motivation for action by building a nationwide public health system that will help us overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for any future outbreak.”
He commissioned Nigerian inventors, researchers and scientists to ” come up with solutions for the treatment of COVID-19.”
Speaking about the economy, he said: “We have seen eleven consecutive quarters of GDP growth since coming out of recession. GDP grew from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019, but declined to 1.87% in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of a decline in global economic activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Every economy in the world is in decline. Ours was relatively moderate.
“In order to stabilize the economy, the monetary authority has taken steps to increase external reserves, which has led to increased liquidity in the foreign exchange market. External reserves rose from $ 33.42 billion on April 29, 2020 to about $ 36.00 billion in may 2020, which is enough to Finance seven-month import obligations.”
He was pleased that more Nigerians were taking advantage of opportunities in agriculture and agribusiness, and promised that the government would continue to support the agricultural sector through the CBN anchor borrowers program and similar schemes.
“To protect our agricultural investment, we have deployed 5,000 agro-Rangers and employed 30,289 people in our para-military agencies, ” he said.
He said the government was relentless in ensuring a stable electricity supply
According to him, in this regard, projects are being implemented to restore and expand transmission lines from Alaoji to Onitsha, the Delta power plant to Benin and Kaduna to Kano; the 330 kV 62 km DC line between Birnin-Kebbi and Kamba; the Lagos/Ogun transmission infrastructure project; the Abuja transmission ring scheme; and the Northern corridor transmission project.
“Our agreement with Siemens will transmit and distribute a total of 11,000 megawatts by 2023 to meet our electricity needs, ” the President said.
He said that 412 km or 64% of the targeted 643km road projects have already been completed.
These projects are funded by a sukuk loan.
“The projects of the presidential infrastructure development Fund are also progressing very well.
“Piling works have been completed on the 2nd Niger bridge and access roads are being built. 48% of the work on this bridge was completed. We have built 102 km of the 376 km of the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road, which is 38%, and 42.9 km of the Obajana – kabba road is 87.03% complete.
“The Federal road Agency has completed current repairs on more than 4,000 km of Federal roads out of the planned 5,000 km.
“We are expanding and modernizing our railway network. We are introducing more locomotives, wagons and wagons for the Abuja-Kaduna railway line. The Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Warri Central line has been completed and extends from Itakpe to Abuja at one end and from Warri city to Warri port at the other.
“The Lagos-Ibadan railway line is 90% complete and will be extended to the port of Lagos, which will help resolve the long-standing impasse at the port of Apapa.”
Speaking about the Niger Delta, Buhari said “ ” with the continued participation of youth, opinion leaders and other stakeholders, we have restored peace to the Niger Delta region and maintained our oil production levels.
“The head office of the Commission for the development of the Niger Delta will be put into operation in the near future. Funding for sections I-IV of the East-West road will continue with the goal of completing the project by the end of 2021.
“In addition, I am determined to ensure that the development intended for the people of the Niger Delta reaches them, so I have authorized a judicial review by the Niger Delta development Commission.”
Buhari expressed regret over the killing of innocent citizens by rebels and bandits in the country.
He called on state and local governments to update their intelligence resources to combat these vile acts.
He said: “I regret the recent sporadic incidents of tragic loss of life in Katsina and Borno States as a result of criminals taking advantage of COVID-19 restrictions. The security authorities will pursue those responsible and bring them to justice quickly.
“I must plead with state and local governments to update their intelligence resources so that security agencies can nip in the Bud any planned attacks in remote rural areas.
“I extend my heartfelt condolences to all the relatives and affected communities.’