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Democracy Day: President Buhari restates commitment to economic advancement

As Nigerians mark the June 12 Democracy Day, President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated commitment to improve all sectors of the economy.

The President who made this known in a national broadcast to mark the 2020 Democracy Day in Abuja said that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019.

He however explained that the GDP fell to 1.87% in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the decline in global economic activities due to the coronavirus pandemic

Digital Economy

He noted the role of Digital Economy on the country’s development agenda.

“Since the creation of the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy,the National Digital Economy Policy & Strategy has been launched. Steps have been taken to achieve a reduction of connectivity cluster gaps from 207 to 114 as well as increase the level of 4G coverage by 30%,” he stated.

Power Sector

According to the President, the Power Sector remains critical to meeting industrial development needs

He explained that his administration was tackling the challenges in the delivery of power through different strategies.

“We are executing some critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme including the:

  1. Alaoji to Onitsha, Delta Power Station to Benin and Kaduna to Kano
  2. 330kv DC 62km line between Birnin Kebbi and Kamba
  3. Lagos/Ogun Transmission Infrastructure Project
  4. Abuja Transmission Ring Scheme; and e. Northern Corridor Transmission Project.

“Our agreement with Siemens will transmit and distribute a total of 11,000 Megawatts by 2023, to serve our electricity needs.” the President stated.

Aviation Sector

The President said that his administration would continue to make investments in the Aviation sector to position it as a travel and trade hub in Africa.

‘Airport Terminals in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt are being expanded, while the rehabilitation of the Enugu Airport is almost completed.

All our airports are being raised to international standards with the provision of necessary equipment, especially navigational aids, to guarantee world class safety standards,” he explained.

According to him, For the first time in over ten years, Nigeria is conducting bidding process for 57 Marginal Oil Fields to increase revenue and increase the participation of Nigerian companies in oil and exploration and production business.

“We continue to grow local content in other areas of the oil and gas sector with the disbursement of funds from the $200 million Nigerian Content Intervention Fund to indigenous manufacturers and service providers,” he added.

Transportation

On transportation, he explained that were improvements in the quality of road, rail, air and water transport infrastructures.

“Through the SUKUK-Funded Road Projects, a total of 412km of the targeted 643km road projects have been completed, representing 64%.

On the 2nd Niger Bridge, piling work has been completed and the approach roads are being constructed. 48% of work on this bridge has been achieved. We have constructed 102km of the 376km Abuja – Kaduna – Kano Road, representing 38%, and the 42.9km Obajana – Kabba Road is 87.03% complete.

The Federal Roads Maintenance Agency has completed routine maintenance on over 4,000km of federal roads out of the 5,000km targeted. We are extending and upgrading our railway network too. We are introducing more locomotives, coaches and wagons for the Abuja-Kaduna Rail Line.

The Central Ajaokuta – Itakpe – Warri Line has been completed and is being extended from Itakpe to Abuja on one end and from Warri Town to Warri Port on the other.

The Lagos-Ibadan Rail Line is 90% completed and would be extended to the Lagos Port which would help address the long-standing gridlock at the Apapa port,” he said.

Mining Sector

President Buhari reaffirmed his commitment to expand the mining sector.

‘To this end, I have directed the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant based on Government-to-Government financing and a Public-Private Sector financing.

“With foreign and domestic investments and the participation of Small Scale Miners, we are harnessing the supply value chain in gold production.

“We would also be launching a fully digitized mineral rights management platform for quick processing of mineral rights application, digitization of records and plugging revenue leakages,” he explained.

Source: Voice of Nigeria