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Nigeria @60: Buhari reemphasizes to improve lives of Nigerians

By Oluwaseun Sonde

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President Muhammad Buhari has re-emphasized a dedication and commitment that propelled his public service career and informed his quest to continually seek for an opportunity to improve the lives of Nigerians, set the country on the path of prosperity and lead the country to a better future. He made the pledges while addressing the nation on the occasion of Nigeria’s 60th Independent anniversary, he said his administration has been focused on rebuilding and laying the foundations for a sustainable Nigeria which met and are still meeting challenges inherent in any rebuilding initiative.

President Buhari reiterated that Nigerians and their spirit of excellence remains the government most important asset. “In this wise, the need to return to our age-old ethical and high moral values would be necessary and this informed my launching of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy on Monday 28th September, 2020. “The policy would not implement itself and the first contact of the visibility of its implementation is the Public Service whose on-going reforms would be expected to be sustainable and give a radical re-direction in providing services to all Nigerians”, he said.

He added that the public health challenges of working to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, Nigeria suffered a significant drop in its foreign exchange earnings and internal revenues due to 40 per cent drop in oil prices and steep drop in economic activities, leading to a 60 per cent drop in government revenue. “Our government is grappling with the dual challenge of saving lives and livelihoods in face of drastically reduced resources. In this regard, sustaining the level of petroleum prices is no longer possible. The government, since coming into office has recognized the economic argument for adjusting the price of petroleum. “But the social argument about the knock-on effect of any adjustment weighed heavily with the government.

Accordingly, in the last three years, we have introduced unprecedented measures in support of the economy and to the weakest members of our society in the shape of: Tradermoni, Farmermoni, School Feeding Programme, Job creation efforts and Agricultural intervention programmes”. He noted that no government in the past have done what his administration are doing with such scarce resources. “We have managed to keep things going in spite of the disproportionate spending on security. Those in the previous Governments from 1999 – 2015 who presided over the near destruction of the country have now the impudence to attempt to criticize our efforts.

“In the circumstances, a responsible government must face realities and take tough decisions. Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point, Chad which is an oil producing country charges N362 per litre, Niger, also an oil producing country sells 1 litre at N346. In Ghana, another oil producing country, petroleum pump price is N326 per litre. Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia”.

He emphasized that to achieve the great country Nigeria desire, Nigerians need to solidify its strength, increase its commitment and encourage each other to do that which is right and proper even when no one is watching. “Let us collectively resolve to continue our journey beyond the sixty years on the clear understanding that as a nation we are greater together than being smaller units of nationalities. “By the special grace of God we shall come through any transient challenges. It is my sincere hope that by the end of this anniversary on September 30th 2021, we will all be proud of taking this individual and collective self-assessment for the progress of our great Nation. Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, he said.

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