Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, in this interview debunked the allegation of non-performance leveled against the Muhammadu Buhari administration. Brief excerpts below;
The four-year mandate given to this government by Nigerians is gradually coming to an end. Has your party fulfilled its electoral promises to the people?
We were very categorical that we were going to address three areas of governance: we are going to fight corruption, we are going to fight insecurity, and we are going to revamp the economy.
I can say with all sense of modesty that we can beat our chest that we have delivered in all those areas.
On the economy, a former CBN Deputy Governor, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu disagreed with your government’s claim that we have exited recession. What is your take on that?
I would rather work on the figure of the National Bureau of Statistics because their indices and parameters for the country show that we are out of recession. Even as recently as last week, the NBS came out that for the 11th month we have been able to hold down inflation, that inflation today is 15.37 per cent. This has been happening since January 2017. All indications show that not only have we exited recession, but that we are making a lot of gains in all the parameters either in the areas of foreign reserves or foreign investment or the area of inflation or job creation.
Whatever Moghalu has said would run against the current of the figures that had been produced by the NBS which is the best body today that can tell us whether we are out of recession or not. The same body that told us we were in recession is the same body that said we are out of recession. So far, they are yet to tell us we have slipped back to recession…
In agriculture, we have created an extra 6.2 million jobs. From 6 million jobs two and a half years jobs, today we have about 12.2 million jobs in agricultural sector alone. How can anyone claim that we have not succeeded in creating jobs? Our strategy in the area of encouraging local production of rice has worked. From 64,000 metric tonnes a year two and half a years ago, today we import less than 20,000 metric tonnes. You can imagine the kind of saving that would bring to government. In the area of infrastructure, we also have good news. Power today is at an all high of 7000 MW, and we are also able to transmit 7000 MW. In the area of distribution, we distribute over 5000 MW today and the extra 2000 MW which we cannot distribute we are trying to get willing buyers for these MW. Still, on the infrastructure, the Lagos-Kano modern gauge is on course. We are very optimistic that by 2019 Lagos-Ibadan axis of it will be commissioned while the Kano-Kaduna modern gauge will also be ready by 2019.