“The Future is Bright”-Osinbajo

The Acting President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo on Monday urged Nigerians not to lose hope over the prevailing economic hardships, assuring them that the worst days were over and the future was brighter.

In a nationwide broadcast to commemorate the mid-term anniversary of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, he said the most difficult phase of economic crisis had been overcome and encouraged Nigerians to look forward to a brighter and more promising tenure.
Osinbajo, who said there was increasing intensity of the light coming at the end of the tunnel, also sought the co-operation and support of Nigerians in the administration’s bid to achieve its goals and objectives.
While assuring Nigerians that the 2017 budget would soon be signed into law to pave the way for the execution of the goals and objectives of the administration, Osinbajo recalled the comment once made by Buhari that old Nigeria was gradually giving way to a new nation.
“We also know that this journey will of necessity take time. But we will not succumb to the temptation to take short-cuts that ultimately complicate the journey. We did not find ourselves in crises overnight, and we simply do not expect overnight solutions to our challenges.
“The most important thing is that we are on the right path, and we will not deviate from it, even in the face of strong temptation to choose temporary gains over long-term benefits. As the President has summed it up: ‘The old Nigeria is slowly but surely disappearing, and a new era is rising.’ And so we commemorate this second anniversary of our administration with confidence and optimism.
“I firmly believe that we have put the most difficult phase behind us; and we are witnesses to the ever-increasing intensity of the light at the end of the tunnel. We ask for your continued cooperation and support, to enable us realise all our best intentions and ambitions for Nigeria. On our part we will continue to carry you along on this journey, speak to you, explain the challenges, and share our vision,” he said.
The Acting President who said the administration had been focused on the war against corruption, lamented the alleged looting of public funds by unscrupulous Nigerians in the previous administrations.
However, he admitted that the anti-corruption process had been slow because corruption had been fighting back, aided by the slow pace of the nation’s justice administration.
Disclosing that the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) was one of the deterrents meant to curb corruption, Osinbajo added that its coverage had been expanded to include more efficient accounting and budgeting systems. “We have also launched an extremely successful whistle blower policy,” he added.
He listed other measures designed to check corruption by the government to include the Efficiency Unit in the Federal Ministry of Finance, which he said had been used to plug leakages running into billions of naira, adding: “We have ended expensive and much-abused fertiliser and petrol subsidy regimes.”
He also said in line with the administration’s promise to invest in the future, the federal government had not only pumped $500 million into the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), it had also raised the Excess Crude Account (ECA) by $87 million.
Nevertheless, he said, the greatest challenge confronting the administration was economic crisis, pointing out that the government was concerned about the pains Nigerians have gone through, observing that some had lost jobs to the economic crisis, others have had to cope with high cost of food prices while some, notably in the states, could not even obtain regular salaries, a situation, he said, had resulted in medium and short-term interventions meant to rebuild the economy as well as federal government’s bailout funds to the states along with social interventions programme.
Listing other achievements of the government to include the employment of 200,000 unemployed graduates through N-Power online portal under the SIP platform, he said micro credit had also been given to a million artisans, traders and market women and huge investment made in rail network, adding that a number of the government initiatives were targeted at young persons.
He also disclosed that in pursuit of power sector recovery plan, N701 billion payment assurance scheme was launched in March to resolve hiccups militating against the financing of operations of gas suppliers and generation companies.

Emphasising that the recently passed 2017 budget would boost government’s economic recovery plan when signed into law, Osinbajo cited what he described as the successful Eurobond recently launched, describing the N1.2 trillion spent on capital projects in 2016 fiscal year as a milestone in the history of the country.
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