- Category: Politics
- Published on Wednesday, 21 December 2011 02:03
- Written by Admin
- Hits: 643
“Thank you for your support and prayers for Nigeria. I would like to take a few minutes of your time to discuss the current state of our economy with you.
“I have pledged between now and 2015 to reduce Nigeria’s recurrent expenditure and increase capital expenditure (projects, infrastructure, social services, etc). Already, the budget proposal I presented this year has a 2.4% reduction in our recurrent expenditure from last year. This is backed by the determination to also ensure prudent spending and a greater system wide emphasis on due process, transparency, integrity and accountability.
"I envision a country that lives within its means and our plans between now and 2015 is to reduce borrowing to the barest minimum and I am glad to report that in the budget proposal I laid before the National Assembly, there has been a huge drop in Nigeria’s borrowings.
"Also, my team and I envision a Nigeria that is self-sufficient in food production, because we currently spend more than $10 billion per annum importing foods which we could produce in Nigeria with long term planning and discipline. As such, I have taken the bull by the horn, by leading the charge to promote grown-in-Nigeria rice (Ofada, Gwari and Abakaliki Rice) and bread made with 40% cassava flour. I have since directed that only local rice and cassava bread should be served in the Presidential Villa. The same example is recommended for all arms of government.
"By the same token my team and I included policies in this year’s budget proposal to encourage the local production of rice and Cassava flour all geared towards ensuring self sufficiency in the not too distant future.
On the issue of security, I mentioned on 2nd September, 2011, during the launch of the comprehensive database of vehicles in Nigeria by the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) that “I have directed a review of our national security architecture to lay greater emphasis on intelligence and citizens’ participation”. I gave this directive after the terrorist attacks on the United Nations Building in Abuja on 26th August, 2011, knowing full well that without a safe and secure environment foreign and local investors will be reluctant to invest in Nigeria. The protection of lives and property and ensuring the welfare and happiness of the people is a sacred responsibility of government to which we are absolutely committed.
And as I said in one of my facebook notes on 14th of November, 2010, we will not only fight insecurity with conventional tools and with intelligence gathering, we will also fight terrorism with education. You may recall that in the 2011 budget education had the highest allocation. This year, it has the second highest allocation and we have taken the unique step of easing the requirements by which states can access funds available in the Universal Basic Education Fund (UBEC). The Federal Government has also awarded contracts for the building of Almajiri schools in ALL states where the nomadic mode of education is prevalent.
As I reiterated at the Special Convocation of the American University of Nigeria in Yola “the mind is indeed a terrible thing to waste” and it is those without access to education who are most vulnerable as messengers in the hands of terrorists. We expect that the over 9.5 million under privileged children roaming our streets begging will be given opportunities to obtain an education and contribute to our development.
On the power sector, we are set to follow the guidelines and timelines in the Roadmap to Power Sector Reforms document which I launched on 26th August, 2010. In that Road Map, my team and I clearly outlined our targets and objectives which include completing all the outstanding projects in the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) which were temporarily interrupted in 2007 as well as the privatization of selected power stations. This is ongoing and I am glad to report that more than one power project will reach completion stage in 2012.
On the issue of corruption, I have taken and will continue to take steps to reinvigorate the fight against corruption. Just as we did with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) where the appointment of the right leadership resulted in a tremendous and genuine improvement, the Federal Government has also instituted and will further institute changes at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corruption Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to enable those institutions perform their functions in a way that proves to Nigerians and the international community that no one can hide from the long hand of the law in Nigeria.
The Transformation Agenda which I promised is on track and I would crave your indulgence to please go through the Budget Proposal I presented to the National Assembly which is hereby attached.
I thank you for taking the time to read my email. God bless you and God bless Nigeria.
Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan