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Metropole Magazine

Metropole Magazine

President Muhammadu Buhari said late Tuesday in Riyadh that his administration was fully committed to increasing the productivity of Nigeria’s agriculture and solid minerals sectors to save the nation from the harsh effects of lower crude oil prices.

 

Speaking at a meeting with leading members of the Council of Saudi Arabia’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry, President Buhari said that with declining revenues from crude oil exports, Nigeria’s hopes of economic resurgence now lie in the rapid development of its immense agricultural and solid mineral resources.


Inviting Saudi Arabian businessmen to invest in both sectors, the President said that his administration will welcome greater foreign investment in support of its efforts to rapidly diversify the Nigerian economy.

 

President Buhari said that Nigeria had regrettably depended too much on crude oil exports to the neglect of other resources and was now paying a harsh price for failing to diversify its economy early enough.

 

“With the downturn in the global prices of oil, we now have to prospect our solid minerals. We have to return to agriculture. Mining and agriculture are our hopes now. We will welcome investments in these areas. We will appreciate an in-flow of more resources and expertise to help us achieve our objective of economic diversification," the President said.

 

The governors of Osun, Ogun, Katsina, Borno, and Zamfara states, who were part of the President's delegation, took turns to address the Saudi Arabian businessmen on investment possibilities in their states, assuring them of good returns.

 

The Chairman of the Council of the Saudi Arabian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Dr Abdulrahman Al Zamil said that agriculture was a very important area of investment for its members, adding that they were already in Brazil, the United States of America and Sudan, "where we have huge farms."

 

Declaring that they were willing to invest in Nigeria, Dr Abdulrahman Al Zamil said that the Saudis were the leading investors in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
February 24, 2016

President Muhammadu Buhari vowed late Tuesday in Riyadh that all those involved in the “padding” of the 2016 National Budget will face the most severe punishment.

 

Addressing the Nigerian Community in Saudi Arabia, President Buhari condemned the distortion of the budget proposals by entrenched interests.

 

The President said that the unauthorized alterations had completely changed the document from the one he presented to the National Assembly.

 

“The culprits will not go unpunished. I have been a military governor, petroleum minister, military Head of State and headed the Petroleum Trust Fund.

 

“Never had I heard the words “budget padding”. Our Minister of Budget and National Planning did a great job with his team. The Minister became almost half his size during the time, working night and day to get the budget ready, only for some people to pad it.

 

“What he gave us was not what was finally being debated. It is very embarrassing and disappointing. We will not allow those who did it to go unpunished," President Buhari vowed.

 

The President also assured members of the Nigerian community that his administration was working diligently to fulfil its campaign promises, particularly on security, unemployment, and corruption.

 

Reaffirming his government’s zero tolerance for corruption, President Buhari said that the war against corruption was a monumental task that he is determined to tackle successfully.

 

"We have zero tolerance for corruption and other unethical practices. We will deal decisively with anybody found wanting," he promised members of the Nigerian community.

 

President Buhari also used the opportunity of the gathering to brief Nigerians in Saudi Arabia on his administration’s efforts to end the Boko Haram insurgency and terrorism in Nigeria.

 

"Our armed forces have done a great job of dealing decisively with Boko Haram. We are collaborating with our neighbors in the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force to handle security threats in the sub-region and we have significantly destroyed the capacity of the insurgents," the President said.

 

He also spoke on efforts being made to diversify the Nigerian economy, stressing that more opportunities are now open for local and foreign investors in the country.

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
February 24, 2016

 President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is in government purely for the Nigerian people and is always open to talk and dialogue, according to Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

``We are here for the people, if not for the people, we will not be here.

``We got here by the grace of God and the votes of the man on the street who felt it is time for change.’’
Osinbajo spoke on Tuesday in Abuja, when a delegation of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) visited him at the Presidential Villa.

He said it is important to the Buhari Presidency to talk and dialogue, "even if we disagree, we must still talk.

``The reason is that the government itself is the government of the people.”

Prof. Osinbajo stated that “nobody is in government by inheritance”, adding “we are here today because the people chose us and that is the reason we must be prepared to listen to issues that concern Nigerians.”

Osinbajo explained that government had set out a number of initiatives to better the lot of ordinary Nigerians.

He listed them as the six social investment programs for which N500 billion has been earmarked in the 2016 appropriation bill, among others.
Osinbajo told the union leaders that government would take a look at all the issues raised carefully.

He recalled that the Buhari administration packaged a bailout for workers last year, and added that no government, especially the Buhari administration would want to punish the people.

``We are here for the people and we want to identify with the people,” he added.

On the new electricity tariff, the Vice President urged the union to not just condemn it.

``We are open to your suggestions, but it is not enough to say it is a wicked tariff.

``We must answer the question how,” referring to the challenge of compensating the electricity value-chain.

Osinbajo enjoined all Nigerians to support government in the fight against corruption, adding: ``if you don’t fight corruption, you cannot even deal with the economy.

``You need to hold corrupt people accountable because they stole the money meant for the economy.”

Commenting on the extent of damage that the corruption of past government caused, he observed that “our sense of outrage is nowhere near what has happened.

``Some people are even arguing why are we going after the looters that we should concentrate on the economy.

``But if we don’t fight corruption, we can’t deal with the economy effectively.”

According to him, “what has happened in this country is criminal.”

Earlier, the TUC President, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, said the visit was to avail the Congress the opportunity to discuss with the Vice President on some pertinent issues affecting the nation, especially the working class.

The TUC also expressed support for the Buhari administration’s zero-tolerance for corruption.
According to Kaigama, “Nigerian workers are solidly behind you in the fight against corruption, we are ready to come out in solidarity and show our support."

In another meeting, Vice President Osinbajo expressed Federal Government’s commitment to tackle the decline in the education sector.

He stated this when he received a delegation of the Afenifere Renewal Group, led by Mr Olawale Oshun, who lamented recent poor performance in education across the country and especially in the South-West.

He also urged the Federal Government to review the existing educational policy and called for devolution of powers towards achieving true federalism in the country.

(NAN)

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