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On November 11, 2015, President Muhammdu Buhari inaugurated 36 ministers to man 24 federal ministries.

While one year may not be enough to judge the performance of the ministers, PREMIUM TIMES’ Festus Owete presents a scorecard of some of the ministers based on their promises, achievements and expectation of Nigerians

1) Ministry: Agriculture and Rural Development

Minister: Audu Ogbeh

Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

State Minister: Heineken Lokpobiri

Promises: – To reduce the $32 billion Nigeria spends on importing food annually.

– To intensify research and marketing for food.

– To tackle the problem of high rate of malnutrition in the country.

-To tackle food poisoning which has led to the increase of cancer, liver and kidney failure by 25 per cent in the last 25 years.

Achievements:

-Produced Agriculture Roadmap tagged, “The Green Alternative: Agriculture Promotion Policy, 2016-2020,” to revive the agricultural sector to boost food production in Nigeria.

-Set up 11-member National Fertilizer Technical Committee in line with government’s determination to create wealth and employment, ensure food security and sustained livelihood. The minister also said Nigeria would suspend subsidy on fertilizer until the right formulation of fertilizer was made available to farmers.

-The ministry and the CBN initiated the disbursement of about N75 billion loan to farmers in the 36 states and the FCT under the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing in Agricultural Lending.

-Initiated moves to import grasses from Brazil for grazing of cattle, as a way of reducing frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers.

-Plans to set up grazing reserves or cattle ranches to address the problem.

-To set up, in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior, a special unit of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps to provide security for host communities of the proposed cattle ranches and protect agricultural investments.

-Engaged foreign experts to contain Tuta Absoluta, the pest that affected tomato production in the country. Nigeria produces 1.8 million tonnes of tomatoes annually.

-Secured 5,000 hectares from the Federal Capital Development Authority’s (FCDA’s) 15,000 hectares of farmland, for youth and women, as part of a ‘Farm for Life Scheme’ of the ministry.

Failures:

-Nigeria still spends between $3 billion and $5 billion annually on food importation, according to Mr. Ogbeh. He said rice importation alone costs the nation $6 million daily.

-Agriculture still contributes only about 40 per cent to the nation’s GDP

Score: Average

 

2) Ministry: Mines and Steel Development (Solid Minerals):

Minister: Kayode Fayemi

Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Mining and Steel Development
Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Mining and Steel Development

State Minister: Abubakar Bwari

Promise: To make solid minerals the vehicle to diversify Nigeria’s economy from crude oil.

Achievements:

-Produced a roadmap where Nigeria would work closely with the World Bank and major international investors to ensure best practices and due diligence in the mining sector.

–Proposed to the National Assembly a bill seeking the creation of an independent regulatory agency in the mining sector. The agency will function like the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in the power sector and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in the Communications sector. It will be involved in licensing prospective investors, monitoring, inspecting of mining activities.

–Ended the ownership crisis of the Ajaokuta Steel Company by securing an agreement with Global Steel Holdings Limited, an Indian firm, which effectively returned ownership of the company to the federal government. The ministry also renegotiated concession agreement with GSHL for the Nigerian Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO), Itakpe.

— Federal Government to make available an intervention fund to be accessed by serious-minded operators in the mining sector.

–States are now given specific role to play towards exploration and mining licenses issuance, by making their consent mandatory.

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— State governments are now beneficiaries of the 13 percent derivation from mining revenues earned from the exploitation of solid minerals from their domains, just like the oil producing states in the Niger Delta region.

Failures:

-Solid Minerals sector still contributes only 0.3 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to Mr. Fayemi, at the 52nd Conference of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

-Illegal mining still thrives in the country with about five million Nigerians still engaging in artisanal mining, according to the minister.

-About 100 kilogramme of gold leaves Nigeria every day and the country loses $1.54 million to illegal mining of the commodity.

-The Senate said the country is losing N4 trillion annually to illegal mining activities.

Score: Average

3) Ministry: Petroleum Resources

Minister: President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari addressing World Leaders at the 71st General Assembly of United Nations in New York 7000/21/9/2016/ICE/HB/BJO/NAN
President Muhammadu Buhari addressing World Leaders at the 71st General Assembly of United Nations in New York 7000/21/9/2016/ICE/HB/BJO/NAN

Minister of State: Ibe Kachikwu

Promises: The Minister of state promised to focus on boosting revenue generation by discovering more oil and gas fields; cutting cost; blocking leakages, and promoting transparency and accountability in the ministry’s business.

Achievements:

-Fuel queues disappeared following the deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry which led to the jacking up of the pump price of the product from N86.50 to N145.

-NNPC Reforms: Introduced “20 fixes” in the state-run oil company. The reforms included restructuring of the NNPC to bring it to profit yielding entity and reduce loss recorded in the past.

-Moved to resolve the grey areas and hasten the passage into law the omnibus Petroleum Industry Bill which has been before the National Assembly for seven years. The minister said the presidency will present three harmonized bills to the legislature for consideration.

– As of September, Nigeria’s crude oil output rose by 280,700 barrels per day to 1.385 million bpd, according to OPEC.

-Crude oil still accounts for over 90 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings, 35 per cent of GDP and 75 per cent of government revenue.

— Introduce a new funding model to end the perennial Joint Venture cash call problem in the country’s oil and gas industry.

— October 2016 deadline set for the conclusion of modalities for the implementation of integrated personal payroll information system (IPPIS) in oil industry agencies.

— Adoption of work plan to reactivate the refineries.

Failures:

– According to the August edition of the NNPC monthly financial and operations report, the Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company produces 18.6% of the installed capacity, the Port Harcourt Refinery Company 19.5% and the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical company 18.78%.

–Importation of fuel persists: According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, despite the economic downturn, Nigeria spent N595.5 billion on the importation of fuel in the first six months of 2016, rising by N34.3 billion from the amount spent in the last six months of 2015. The country spent N276.226 billion on petrol import in the first quarter of 2016, while N319.28 billion was spent in the second quarter. The NBS report showed that the amount spent on fuel importation appreciated by 6.1 percent, compared with N561.2 billion spent in the second half of 2015.

-Nigeria still to recover its title as Africa’s largest producer as its output fell to 1.677 million barrels per day in March, as opposed to Angola’s 1.782 million bpd. This was mainly due to attack on oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta region.

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-Failed to build certain critical pipelines to transport gas to the nation’s power plants which would have added another 2,000 MW to the nation’s electricity supply.

Score: Average

4) Ministry: Labour and Employment

Minister: Chris Ngigechris-ngige

State Minister: James Ocholi (Late)

Promises: To tackle unemployment effectively. “We will be at the forefront of the battle to stop the scourge of unemployment in the country,” Mr. Ngige, a former senator, told workers of the ministry. “We must, as a people, put on our thinking caps so that we can chart the way forward for employment generation.”

The minister also said the ministry would provide the enabling environment for all the sectors to thrive just as he said efforts were already on to block all leakages so available resources could be committed to development.

Achievements:

-–Resolved several labour disputes, including the one between the Federal Ministry of Woks, Power and Housing and the National Union of Electricity Employees, which would have thrown the nation into darkness and the one between NUPENG and PENGASSAN and the federal government over anti-labour activities.

-NDE, an agency of the ministry empowered over 4000 Nigerians under the Artisans Resettlement and Mentoring Scheme while recruiting and training 1,850 persons across the nation under the Community Based Training Scheme (CBTS).

–The NBS had said Nigeria had 106.69 million employed persons aged between 15 and 64 in the second quarter of 2016, a 0.65 per cent higher than the 106.00 million record in the first quarter.

–Rehabilitation and re-equipping of NDE skill centres to enhance their training capacity. The target is to train not less than 300,000 per year.

Failures:

-In August, the NBS reported that Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose from 12.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 to 13.3 per cent, as the number of people unemployed or underemployed rose from 24.4 million to 26.06 million.

-At least 18,919 Nigerians lost their public sector jobs between October 2015 and March 2016, NBS said.

-In the private sector, there were over 3000 job losses in the oil sector, according to NUPENG and PENGASSAN. In the banking sector, over 4000 lost their jobs. Zenith (1,200), Skye (175), EcoBank (1040), Diamond (200) and FCMB (150 and also closed down some of its branches).

Score: Below Average

5) Ministry: Power, Works and Housing:

Minister: Babatubde Fashola

Photo Credit: www.nigerianeye.com
Photo Credit: www.nigerianeye.com

State Minister: Mustapha Shehuri

Promises:

Over 40 road project and bridges were to be covered in 2016 alone. They include dualization of Kano-Maiduguri road (Sections I-V), Reconstruction and Pavement of Benin-Shagamu Expressway, Oju/Loko Bridge, 2nd Niger Bridge, dualization of Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Road, Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Jebba Road, Sokoto-Tambuwal-Kotangora-Makura Road, Gombe-Numan-Yola Road Phase 11, Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki Road, dualization of Kano-Katsina Road Phase 1, dualization of Ibadan-Ilorin Section 11, Enugu-Onitsha Road and dualization of Sapele-Agbor-Ewu Road (Section 1).

On power, the minister promised steady power supply, saying “The power challenges are not impossible (to fix), most of them are man-made. I am determined to ensure we get to the point where Nigerian has uninterrupted power supply.” He was to later deny making the promise.

On Housing, the minister promised to provide 40 blocks of housing in each of the 25 state and FCT which will lead to “potential delivery of 12 flats per block and 480 flats per state. Subsequently providing 17,760 flats nationwide.”

Also, promised to build 360 houses in three states through Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement in the first phase; develop “Rent to Own” housing scheme for those that cannot afford mortgage; and incorporate a new housing model into the National Building Code.

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Achievements:

-Rehabilitation of some major roads began. They include Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Onitsha-Asaba-Benin road, Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Bokani road, Birnin Gwari-Kaduna road, Kano-Western Bye-pass, Kano-Potiskum-Damaturu-Maiduguri Expressway, Kano-Katsina Road, Port Harcourt-Enugu Expressway etc

-Work resumed on Oju/Loko-Oweto Bridge,

-Paid over N70 billion to contractors handling federal jobs to return to site

-Signed a $237 million agreement with World Bank to improve power in the country.

-Although he inherited a little over 2000 MW, in February, the generating capacity of power rose to 5,074 MW, the highest Nigeria has ever generated in the 63 years (1950-2013) of government monopoly of the sector.

– Fixed the damages at the Jebba, Kainji and Shiroro hydro-power stations, all of which were running at half and below half capacity. Thus, they altogether recorded an increase from 1,405 MW to 1,240 MW in September. The capacity of the gas power stations rose to 1,480 MW. Egbin, for instance, recorded an increase from 880 MW to 1,100 MW and Delta station from 360 MW to 380MW.

-Got approval of FEC to purchase three transformers of 150 MVA to be installed in sub-stations of Shiroro, Osogbo and Kumbotso.

-Unveiled an ambitious housing programme aimed at evolving a nationally acceptable design that reflects the diversity of culture and weather in Nigeria while targeting the low and medium income earners. The minister said he would spend N10 billion to build low income housing estates in the states and the FCT.

Failures

-Achieved far less than the 40 projects which he said he would execute in the first year. For instance, the 2nd Niger Bridge, Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road, Lagos, Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Road are among the many roads that are yet to be rehabilitated. Many major Nigerian roads are still death traps.

-Millions of Nigerians still live without power as the nation’s current generating capacity is merely 3,531.7 as of late October. It was 4,028 mid-October. The Nigerian Association of Energy Economists said only 45 percent of the country’s population are connected to the national grid and regular power supply is restricted to about 25 percent of the population. A group, Centre for Global Development said over 80 million Nigerians live without electricity.

-Increased electricity tariff by 45 per cent in December 2015, increasing it to N22.8 kilowatts per hour. The minister refused to obey a court order reversing the new tariff regime.

-Millions of Nigerian still do not have access to affordable housing. The World Bank said Nigeria has a housing deficit of about 17 million units and needs about 700,000 additional units each year for the next 20 years. A recent study by a top international consulting firm said about 80 per cent of Nigerians cannot afford a house that is more than N1 million.

Source: Premium Times

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