Minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed yesterday took a retrospective look at the activities of President Muhammadu Buhari-led government in the outgoing year and concluded that the administration made tremendous progress in diverse sectors of the economy, and in fighting insecurity as well as provision of infrastructure.
Mohammed who revealed this in Lagos while briefing journalists on the activities of the government in the outgoing year, pointed out that the government’s impact can be felt in the robust security architecture, roads and bridges, housing, aviation, railway and social intervention such as school feeding and social safety provision in the outgoing year, 2021.
He said despite the enormous challenges posed by insecurity, the military has continued to live up to its billing by tackling insecurity headlong and bringing bandits and other criminal activities across the country to its knees.
The minister who listed 100 achievements of the Buhari administration in the year, appealed to Nigerians to continue to support the military in its efforts to keep the nation safe.
“To keep our country safe, the Armed Forces have set up various operations across the country.
“These include the Joint Task Force (JTF) Northeast, tagged Operation Hadin Kai, covering the Northeast region; the JTF SS, tagged Operation Delta Safe, covering the South South region; the JTF NW, known as Operation Hadarin Daji, covering the Northwest region; Operation Safe Haven, covering Plateau, parts of Kaduna and Bauchi states; Operation Whirl Stroke, covering Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States; JTF SW, referred to as Operation Awatse and covering Lagos and Ogun states; Operation Thunder Strike, covering Abuja-Kaduna Highway and Operation Whirl Punch, covering parts of Kaduna State,” he said.
The minister further explained that about 10,000 Nigerians were recruited into the Nigeria Army in the year, while the Army procured 160 MRAPS, 60 APCs and 150 trucks, to strengthen their equipment holding.
He said the Navy launched the FALCON EYE, and a locally built seaward defence boat, while the Nigeria Air Force took delivery of 12 Super Tucanos and three fighter jets, with which it has conducted several air interdictions, adding that the nation’s armed forces also contributed to international peace and security through the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the regional initiative, the ECOWAS Military Intervention in Gambia (ECOMIG).
Dwelling on the economy, the minister noted that the rollout of effective fiscal, economic and health policies all contributed to the early rebound of the nation’s economy from the clutches of COVID-19, which plunged the nation into a recession.
He said, “The recovery of the economy remained on a steady path throughout the year 2021. As you are aware, gentlemen, many countries around the world face unprecedented challenges, starting from 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and Nigeria is no exception. The Nigerian economy was hit by the pandemic in mid- 2020, and the economic disruptions led to a recession.
The poor performance of the economy during the COVID-19 era affected output growth, trade, household welfare and livelihood. However, this led to a quick response by the federal government with the rolling out of effective fiscal and monetary policies as well as health-related policies intended to curb the spread of the pandemic and mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on the economy. This has yielded considerable results.
“For example, the country’s domestic growth in the first three quarters of 2021 was positive, recording real GDP of 0.51 percent in Q1, 5.01 percent in Q2 and 4.03 percent in Q3 2021, This was an improvement from a declining performance in the first three quarters of 2020 (which led to economic recession) put at 1.87 percent in Q1, -6.10 percent in Q2 and -3.62 percent in Q3 2020. Nevertheless, the fourth quarter 2020 recorded a slight improvement of 0.11 percent, ushering in positive growth rates in the three quarters of 2021.
‘’This economic performance in 2021 shows a steady improvement in growth over the last three quarters of 2020, and this can be attributed to government policies and strategies such as the Economic Sustainability Plan; the N500 billion COVID 19 Crisis Intervention Fund etc.”
He added: “In the oil sector, real growth shows poorer performance in 2021, recording 2.21 per cent year-on-year) in Q1 2021, -12.65 in per cent Q2 2021 and –10.73 in per cent Q3 2021, from stronger growth of 5.06 per cent in Q1 2020, -6.63 per cent in Q2 2020, and -13.89 per cent in Q3 2020. However, oil production in million barrel per day continued to decline in 2021, from 2.07mbpd in Q1 2020,1.81mbpd in Q2 2020, 1.67mbpd in Q3 2020 to 1.72mbpd in Q1 2021, 1.61mbpd in Q2 2021 and 1.57mbpd in Q3 2021. Non-oil sector indicated better performance of 0.79 per cent in Q1 2021, 6.7 per cent in Q2 2021 and 5.44 per cent in Q3 2021, compared to 1.55 per cent in Q1 2020, -6.05 per cent in Q2 2020, and -2.51 per cent in Q3 2020.
‘’In Foreign Trade, Nigeria witnessed dwindling performance in 2020, arising from trade restrictions on accounts of COVID-19 pandemic. Disruptions of trading activities driven by the pandemic further weakened the balance of trade witnessed in Q4 2019 in the subsequent quarters. Consequently, total imports in the first three quarters of 2021 rose by 57.13 per cent , from N13.97 in the corresponding quarters of 2020 to N21.95 trillion. Similarly, total exports grew by 40.62 per cent , which was N13.12 trillion in the first three quarters of 2021, compared to N9.33trillion in the corresponding period, an indication of improved trading activities although with a deficit position.
‘’Over the same period crude oil export improved considerably at N10.03 trillion, compared to N6.92 trillion, showing a growth rate of 44.93 per cent , while Non-oil exports grew by 21.17 per cent – from N1.19trillion to N1.44trillion over the same period. Inflation rate has continued to decline on a year-on-year basis since April 2021 when 18.12 per cent was recorded. Looking at the trend, a declining rate was recorded from 17.93 per cent in May to 17.01 per cent in August, 15.99 per cent in October and 15.40 per cent November 2021. It is projected that proper implementation of the proposed 2022 project of N17.13trillion, and Medium-Term Expenditure Framework & Fiscal Strategy Paper 2022-2024 are likely to improve the performance of the economy… Also, judicious implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act will likely improve oil production/sales stability; relatively high oil prices will enhance revenue performance and budget implementation, while strengthening security will improve output growth of the economy.’’