By Ismaila Chafe
The Presidency has again, reeled out 28-page of President Muhammadu Buhari’s strides in Oil and gas reforms, Digital economy, Mines and steel development, Agriculture, Education, Health, Creative Industry, Sports and infrastructural development; roads, bridges, rail, air and sea ports, housing, and many others.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the president’s scorecard is coming ahead of the seven year anniversary of the Buhari-led administration on May 29, 2022.
President Buhari had in May 29, 2015, took the oath of office as President, promising to serve Nigeria faithfully in all spheres of national life.
The seven years milestone, according to the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, presents a major landmark and opportunity to review the service of the president to the country, and its people.
Adesina noted that the Buhari administration has so far delivered in its promises to Nigerians although revisionists would want to look at security challenges, which are being robustly tackled by the government.
A one-stop shop of the achievements of the Buhari administration at seven indicated that a lot has been done, and a lot more will still be done in the 12 months ahead.
Nigeria, under Buhari’s watch, has continued to witness the biggest and most ambitious federal infrastructure programme since Nigeria’s Independence.
On Solid Minerals, the Federal Government, in 2020, approved a new national policy on local production of bitumen.
In April 2022, the government announced the selection of PwC as Transaction Adviser for the concession process for Nigeria’s bitumen blocks. (Nigeria has one of the largest bitumen reserves in the world, mostly undeveloped).
The Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMI) is a Buhari Administration scheme to enumerate (deploying BVN and NIN data), organize/formalize, ‘skill’, equip, and finance (by guaranteeing offtake—with fair pricing) artisanal gold miners in Nigeria.
Construction has also been completed on the first phase of the Segilola Gold Project, Nigeria’s first large-scale commercial gold mine, and most advanced gold exploration project (also currently the largest defined gold deposit in the country).
The private sector project, built during the pandemic, began exporting gold in late 2021.
In Kaduna, a $600 million integrated iron ore mining, processing and steel production company is being completed, in Gujeni, Kagarko LGA of the State – a wholly private sector investment.
The Federal Government has also issued licences to three companies to build the first set of gold refineries in Nigeria.
– In 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) added Nigerian gold to its reserves for the first time.
– The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has achieved:
The total automation and decentralization of the operations of the Mining Cadastre Office (MCO)
Revitalized the Presidential Joint Task Force on Mines Surveillance
Enhanced the operating capacity of the National Geosciences Research Laboratories (NGRL) in Kaduna, so that samples no longer need to be sent abroad for processing
Operationalization of the Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF)
Established, in 2018, the National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development, bringing the Federal and State Governments together.
Reactivated the State Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committees (MIREMCO)
The government announced ongoing development of the following Mining-related clusters in the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, as part of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development’s Covid-19 economic intervention programme:
• Gold Souk in Kano
• Kaolin-processing plant in Bauchi
• Gemstone market in Ibadan
• Lead-smelting plant in Ebonyi
• Barite-processing plant in Cross River
• Gold-smelting plant in Kogi
The Federal Government has also done very well in the agricultral sector particularly the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
The Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria, launched by President Buhari on November 17, 2015, has disbursed more than N800 billion to more than four million smallholder farmers of 23 different commodities.
These commodities include, Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, Cassava, Poultry, Soybeans, 27 Groundnut, Fish), cultivating over five million hectares of farmland.
The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI)was also inaugurated as a government-to-government partnership between the Nigerian and Moroccan Governments, in Dec. 2016.
The Initiative produced 30 million 50kg bags of NPK 20:10:10 equivalent in 2020, bringing total production since inception to over 60 million 50kg bags equivalent.
The number of participating blending plants increased to 62 from the four that were operational in Nigeria at the inception of the initiative.
The government has concluded plans to establish a $500million partnership between the Federal Government of Nigeria, AfDB Group, IsDB, and IFAD under the Special-Agro Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) Programme.
Under the SAPZ programme, Agro-processing centres will be established across the country.
The Agro-processing centres will be provided with basic infrastructure such as water, electricity and roads as well as facilities for skills training.
Seven States and the FCT selected for the pilot phase, due to commence in 2022: Ogun, Oyo, Imo, Cross River, Kano, Kaduna, and Kwara.
The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) is also establishing Integrated Farm Estates across Nigeria.
So far, new/revived Farm Estates have been commissioned in Katsina, Yobe and Imo, and others are under development.
President Buhari has directed NALDA to establish these Integrated Farm Estates/Settlements in each of the 109 Senatorial Districts in the country.
NALDA was originally established in 1992, but has been dormant since around 2000, until last year when President Buhari revived it, appointed a new Executive Secretary & CEO (June 2020), and directed that the Authority be domiciled in the Presidency for direct supervision by him.
An Integrated Farm Estate is designed to fit the particular context of its host community i.e., cultivate crops and/or livestock peculiar to the community.
NALDA has also launched the National Young Farmers Scheme (NYFS), to engage 1,000 youths in each of the 774 LGAs, in mechanized agriculture.
Also, under the NYFS, NALDA is sending, in the first phase, 200 young Nigerian farmers, from the 36 States, to Israel and Morocco, for training in greenhouse farming and animal husbandry.
The beneficiaries will, upon completion of their training and return to Nigeria, be tasked with the training of other young people, on NALDA’s Integrated Farm Estates in their various areas.
Under agriculture for food and jobs programme (AFAJ), a component of the Economic Sustainability Plan (a stimulus response to the Covid-19 pandemic), the Federal Government trained and deployed over 34,000 young graduates, across all 774 LGAs of the country.
Each person was given a locally-developed app on smartphones and e-Tablet, to digitally register farmers and map out their farm GIS coordinates.
Another agricultural programme, the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), is an initiative of the Nigerian Government designed to Modernise pastoral agriculture and livestock production in Nigeria, through the establishment of ranches, and to deliver a lasting solution to recurring clashes between pastoralists and crop farmers.
”By addressing the resource (land, water and pasture) constraints at the heart of the conflicts through this intervention, the Government expects to see a situation where both livestock pastoralists and crop farmers contribute amicably to the country’s agriculture sector.
”NLTP will create jobs, expand domestic technical capacity, increase agricultural output (milk and meat yields of local cattle breeds) and very importantly engender peace and security across the country.”
The Green Imperative, a Nigeria-Brazil Agricultural Mechanisation programme is also aimed at boosting agricultural production in Nigeria.
”The €995 million, 5-year project, funded by the Import/Export Bank of Brazil (BDES), with support from Deutsche Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and other partners, aims to deliver agriculture technology transfer from Brazilian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Research and Training Institutes to Nigeria’s entrepreneurs, Research Institutes and businesses.”
The National Assembly has approved the loan for the financing of the programme, which will involve the development of 632 privately-operated primary production (Mechanisation) Service Centres and 142 Agro-processing (value-addition) Service Centres across the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs).
It will also involved the reactivation of 6 privately owned partially-operational or moribund tractor assembly plants nationwide. It will also train 100,000 new extension workers.
In a bid to uplift the quality of life of the less-privileged Nigerians, the Buhari administration in 2016, inaugurated the National Social Investment Programme.
The programme is currently believed to be the largest in Africa and one of the largest in the world.
The National Social Register (NSR) of poor and vulnerable Nigerians (NSR) now contains more than 46 million persons from more than 11 million poor and vulnerable households, identified across more than 8,000 wards and 125,000 communities across the 36 States of the country and the FCT.
”From this number, close to 2 million poor and vulnerable Nigerian households are currently benefiting from the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, which pays a bimonthly stipend of N10,000 per household.
”In January 2019, President Buhari launched Nigeria’s Micro-Pension Scheme – which allows self-employed persons and persons working in organisations with less than 3 employees to save for the provision of pension at retirement or incapacitation.
”Establishment of the Survival Fund, the National Youth Investment Fund, and National Special Public Works Program (774,000 beneficiaries across 774 LGAs nationwide), and the Central Bank’s Covid-19 300 billion Naira Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) to support millions of small businesses, households, and young people, with federal grants, loans, and stipends.
”The Buhari Administration’s Survival Fund has provided grants (Payroll Support, Artisan and Transport Sector grants, and General MSME grants) to more than 1.2 million beneficiaries, since the last quarter of 2020. ”
It has also provided free business registration to 250,000 MSMEs across the country.
A Presidential approval for the establishment of the Nigeria Investment and Growth Fund (NIG-Fund), was also granted by the president in 2021.
The Fund is being structured like a private equity fund, and invest in commercially viable projects that will promote growth and innovation, enhance local value addition, create employment, and promote exports.
”As at the end of 2021, Development Bank of Nigeria (which commenced operations in 2017) had disbursed 482 billion Naira in loans to more than 200,000 MSMEs, through 51 Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs).
The Bank of Industry (BOI) has disbursed more than N1 trillion in loans to over three million large, medium, small and micro enterprises, since 2015.