ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria has spent 720.5 billion naira ($2.4 billion) on capital expenditure this year to help drag Africa’s biggest economy out of recession, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Saturday.
“I believe that this recession will not last,” Buhari said in a televised speech marking the country’s independence day.
“Several hundreds of thousands of (unemployed) workers will be re-engaged in the next few months as our public works programme gains momentum.”
Buhari also said the government has been negotiating to end militant attacks on oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta, the country’s oil hub, but would not be intimidated by armed groups.
He said oil production had temporarily dropped to less than one million barrels a day, down from 2.2 million bpd, due to militant attacks, but he did not say how much current output was.
Buhari also reiterated the government wanted to repair the country’s four refineries to end costly fuel imports.
He said the naira exchange rate to the dollar would stabilise, after dropping to record lows due to a “critical” shortage of hard currency amid low oil prices. He did not elaborate.
($1 = 304.5000 naira)
(Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Alexander Smith)