The Muhammadu Buhari administration clocks six years May 29, 2021. This milestone affords the opportunity to reflect, and recount the impact that has been made (and is being made) on different sectors of national life. From infrastructure, to finance, education, healthcare, sports, anti-corruption, human development, housing, oil and gas, foreign relations, and many others
Presidential approval, in 2020, for the establishment of InfraCo Plc, a world class infrastructure development vehicle, wholly focused on Nigeria, with combined debt and equity take-off capital of N15 trillion, and managed by an independent infrastructure fund manager.
Establishment in 2020 of the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), with more than $1 Billion in funding so far; the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has seen total additional inflows from the Government of around US$2 billion under the Buhari Administration – since the original US$1 billion which the Fund kicked off with in 2012.
Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), investing over a billion dollars in three flagship projects: Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway; Executive Order 7 mobilizing private investment into the development of key roads and bridges like Bodo-Bonny in Rivers and Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki-Ojota in Lagos.
Completion of New Terminals for International Airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt; construction of New Runway for Abuja and Enugu International Airports; presidential approval for four International Airports as Special Economic Zones: Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt.; approval for new private-sector funded deep sea ports: Lekki Deep Sea Port (Construction already well underway, for completion in 2022); Bonny Deep Sea Port (Ground-breaking done in March 2021); Ibom Deep Sea Port; and Warri Deep Sea Port
In December 2017, Calabar Port commenced export of bulk cement to Tema Port in Ghana; in 2019, three container ships berthed at Calabar Port, for the first time in eleven years; dredging of Warri Port (Escravos Bar—Warri Port channel) completed in 2018; on October 30, 2019, an LPG Tanker operated by NLNG, berthed in Port Harcourt – the first time ever an LPG ship berthed in any of the Eastern Ports
December 8, 2019, Onne Port received JPO VOLANS (owned by Maersk), the FIRST gearless and largest container vessel (265.07 metres) to call at any Eastern Port in Nigeria and August 1, 2019, Onne Port’s Brawal Terminal received MSC GRACE, its first container vessel since 2012.
Energizing Education Programme: Taking clean and reliable energy (Solar and Gas) to Federal Universities and Teaching Hospitals across the country. Four Universities completed and commissioned already: BUK (Kano), FUNAI (Ebonyi), ATBU (Bauchi) and FUPRE (Delta); others ongoing. Energizing Economies Programme: Completed projects include Sabon-Gari Market in Kano, Ariaria Market in Aba, and Sura Shopping Complex in Lagos.
National Mass Metering Programme: Nationwide rollout of electricity meters to all on-grid consumers, launched in August 2020. The Central Bank of Nigeria is providing 60 billion Naira for the first phase, with a target of 1 million meter installations. So far more than 500,000 meters have been delivered to the Discos, and more than 280,000 installed.
Presidential Power Initiative (PPI), aka Siemens Power Program: A Government-to-Government initiative involving the Governments of Nigeria and Germany, and Siemens AG of Germany, to upgrade and modernize Nigeria’s electricity grid.
The Family Homes Fund Limited (FHFL), incorporated by the Federal Government of Nigeria in September 2016, is the implementing agency for the Buhari Administration’s National Social Housing scheme. The Central Bank of Nigeria is providing a N200 Billion financing facility, with a guarantee by the FGN.
OIL AND GAS
The administration has declared this decade the “Decade of Gas.”Ground-breaking on 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas Project; Successful completion of Nigeria’s first Marginal Field Bid Round in almost 20 years, expected to raise in excess of half a $500 billion, and open up a new vista of investment in oil and gas; launch of National LPG Expansion Programme (including Removal of VAT from the domestic pricing of LPG); financial close and signing of contract for NLNG Train 7, which will grow Nigeria’s production capacity by about 35%
In December 2020, of the new NPDC Integrated Gas Handling Facility in Edo State was commissioned, the largest onshore LPG plant in the country, with a processing capacity of 100 million standard cubic feet of gas daily, producing 330 tonnes of LPG, 345 tonnes of propane and 2,600 barrels of condensate, daily.
Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP): The Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria, launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015, has made more than 300 billion Naira to more than 3.1 million smallholder farmers of 21 different commodities (including Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, Cassava, Poultry, Soy Beans, Groundnut, Fish), cultivating over 3.8 million hectares of farmland.
Presidential Fertilizer Initiative: Launched as a government-to-government partnership between the Nigerian and Moroccan Governments, in December 2016, the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) produced- 12million 50kg bags of NPK 20:10:10 equivalent in 2020, bringing total production since inception to over 30 million 50kg bags equivalent; and number of participating blending plants increased to 44 from three at inception.
SOCIAL INVESTMENT AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION
In 2016, President Buhari launched the National Social Investment Programme, currently the largest such programme in Africa and one of the largest in the world. Currently, the National Social Register of poor and vulnerable Nigerians (NSR) has 32.6 million persons from more than 7 million poor and vulnerable households, identified across 708 local government areas, 8,723 wards and 86,610 communities across the 36 States of the country and the FCT.
As at the end of 2020, Development Bank of Nigeria (which commenced operations in 2017) had disbursed 324 billion Naira in loans to more than 136,000.
EDUCATION AND HEALTH
Since assuming office, the Buhari Administration has committed more than N1.7 trillion of capital intervention to Nigeria’s tertiary institutions, through various means, including TETFund – with the universities taking the lion share of the total amount.
The Federal Government has disbursed more than N170 billion in UBE Matching Grants to States and the FCT since 2015, 8 billion Naira in Special Education Grant to States and private providers of Special Education, and 34 billion Naira from the Teachers Professional Development Fund to States and the FCT.
Under the World Bank-supported Innovation Development & Effectiveness in the Acquisition of Skills (IDEAS) Project, approved in 2020, US$200m will be invested in 6 participating States (Abia, Benue, Ekiti, Gombe, Kano, Edo) as well as 20 Federal Science and Technical Colleges nationwide.
FISCAL, TRADE, MONETARY AND INVESTMENT REFORMS
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) in 2017 completed a long-overdue revision of the list of activities that can benefit from Nigeria’s Pioneer Status Incentive, which grants beneficiary companies a 3 to 5-year tax holiday. Restoration of Federal Budget to January-December cycle, with the 2020 Budget, for the first time in 12 years; introduction, since 2020, of annual Finance (Reform) Bills to accompany the annual Federal Appropriation Bill. Launch of a Visa-on-Arrival Policy, as part of Ease of Doing Business Reforms. PRESIDENTIAL
ASSENT TO LEGISLATIVE BILLS
Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act, 1993 (Amendment) Act, 2019, which will deliver increased revenues to the Federation.
Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, an Executive Bill, signed into law in 2019. The Bill facilitates the identification, tracing, freezing, restraining, recovery, forfeiture and confiscation of proceeds, property and other instrumentalities of crime, as well as the prosecution of offenders in criminal cases regardless of where in the world they might be.
Bill establishing the Police Trust Fund, which will significantly improve funding for the Nigeria Police Force (2019); Nigeria Police Act, 2020.
The Buhari Administration has, since 2017, issued a number of landmark Executive Orders: Executive Order on Promotion of Transparency and Efficiency in the Business Environment (2017); Executive Order on Promoting Local Procurement by Government Agencies (2017); Executive Order on Submission of Annual Budgetary Estimates by all Statutory and non-Statutory Agencies, including Incorporated Companies wholly owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria (2017)
Executive Order on the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (2017); Presidential Executive Order on Planning and Execution of Projects, Promotion of Nigerian Content in Contracts, Science, Engineering and Technology (2018); Executive Order (and Amendment) on the Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularization Scheme (VOARS) (2018); Executive Order on Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme (2019) and Executive Order Implementing Financial Autonomy of State Legislature and State Judiciary (2020).
SUPPORT TO STATES
The Buhari Administration has extended more than N2 trillion Naira in bailout packages to State Governments, to enable them meet their salary and pension obligations, especially in the face of dwindling oil revenues in the first 3 years of the Administration. The support has come in the form of the following: Budget Support Facility N614 billion extended to the States; Paris Club Refunds $5.4 billion; infrastructure Loans & Refunds: More than 700 billion Naira in refunds for Federal Road projects embarked upon by State Governments.
Ogoni Clean-Up: Setting aside of $170m seed funding for the Ogoni Clean Up, in an Escrow Account established for that purpose. The Escrow Agreement Signing Ceremony took place in April 2018. The Clean-Up commenced in January 2019, with the handover of the first batch of 21 sites to the selected remediation firms, after a painstaking procurement process. As of March 2021, 16 of the first 21 sites had been certified cleaned.
ANTI-CORRUPTION AND TRANSPARENCY/EXPANSION OF TSA AND IPPIS COVERAGE
On August 7, 2015, President Buhari issued a directive to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to close their accounts with Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and transfer their balances to the Central Bank of Nigeria on or before 15th September 2015.
The TSA system was launched in 2012, but failed to gain traction until President Buhari’s executive order in August 2015. It has now been implemented in more than 90 percent of all Federal MDAs. In spite of great opposition, the Buhari Administration has expanded IPPIS coverage to the Armed Forces, as well as Federal Universities and other academic institutions.
OPEN GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIP
In May 2016, President Buhari attended and participated in the International Anti-Corruption Summit organised by the UK Government. At that Summit he pledged that Nigeria would join the OGP, an international transparency, accountability and citizen engagement initiative, and in July 2016, Nigeria became the 70th country to join the OGP.
Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) has helped anti-corruption agencies devise clearer strategies for obtaining forfeiture of assets suspected to have been acquired fraudulently, mainly from State Coffers, before prosecuting suspected culprits.
SECURITY AND JUSTICE REFORM
Nigerian Air Force has acquired 26 brand new aircraft since President Buhari assumed office in 2015, and is expecting another 12 (the twelve Super Tucano currently on order from the United States Government, due for delivery starting July 2021). The NAF is also locally re-activating several previously unserviceable planes.
The Nigerian Navy has acquired close to 400 new platforms since 2015, including 172 Riverine Patrol Boats (RPBs), 114 Rigid- Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs), 2 Seaward Defence Boats (SDBs), 12 Manta Class/Inshore Patrol Craft (IPC), 3 Whaler Boats, 4 Barges / Tug Boats, 22 Fast Attack Boats, 14 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), 4 Helicopters, 14 River Town Class, 14 House Boats and 4 Capital Ships.
Presidential approval for commencement of Community Policing Programme nationwide, and release of take-off funding. The Community Policing Programme has now been enshrined into the Police Act, 2020.
The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) is deploying a Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) at five International Airports. MIDAS is a global real-time border management system developed by International Organization for Migration (IOM), and is linked to INTERPOL and other watchlists. The implementation of MIDAS at the International Airport in Abuja was described by the IOM as “the largest deployment of MIDAS at any airport globally, to date.”
DIPLOMACY AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Re-establishment of Nigeria’s position and influence in the regional and global arena. Fragile/broken relations with the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, and with neighbouring countries (Chad, Niger, Cameroon) have been revived and strengthened since June 2015.
The positions of Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Secretary-General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), African Development Bank, and African Export–Import Bank are all currently held by Nigerians. A total of $622 million in looted Abacha funds repatriated to Nigeria in two tranches in December 2017 and April 2020.
The President in March 2020 set up an Economic Sustainability Committee chaired by Vice President Osinbajo, to develop a comprehensive economic plan to respond to the disruptions and dislocations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and has been credited with helping Nigeria exit the Covid-induced recession faster than expected.
Mr Buhari, in March 2020 set up a Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, to coordinate Nigeria’s multi-sectoral inter-governmental approach to COVID-19. The PTF has since April 2021 transitioned into a Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on Covid-19
As it is said, the past is but a story told. The future may yet be written in gold, and as Femi Adesina; Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity said, “when the Administration breasts the tape in another two years, by the grace of God, the applause will be resounding, even from the worst of sceptics. Facts are undeniable, and always remain so. They are stubborn things.”