Chris Steven, Abuja
Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, has warned against the politicization of the country’s recent emergence from recession.
According to him, politicizing the nation’s triumph over recession is a disservice to the people of Nigeria
“To naysayers, I will say: This issue should not be politicized. An issue that affects the welfare of our citizens should not be toyed with. Let us all appreciate what this Administration has done in returning our economy to the path of positive growth and then support and encourage it to do more” Mohammed said when he received the Broadcast Media Editors on a courtesy visit in Abuja on Friday.
”Trying to downplay what has been achieved is bad politics. I know this good news of our emergence from recession has hit the naysayers very hard. But they should recover quickly and embrace the good news. Sorry, but it can neither be denied nor wished away”.
He said some critics even claimed that getting out of recession is mere statistics and does not mean anything, even though it is the same statistics that was used to say that Nigeria had slipped into recession in Q2 2016.
He said now that Nigeria has emerged from recession, the Administration will sustain and build on what it did to get the economy out of recession through sustained policy interventions in various sectors.
The Minister listed such measures as including the continued stimulation of local production of staples such as rice, using initiatives like the Anchor’s borrowers programme and the Presidential Initiative on Fertilizers; continuous improvement of the business environment via PEBEC to attract investors; positive engagement in the Niger Delta that has resulted in improved oil production and ensuring stability in the Foreign Exchange Market.
He said the government would also continue the efforts to ensure that inflation rate, which has come down from 18% to 16%, is further brought down; continue to build-up of the foreign reserves, which has hit a 30-month high of $31.8 billion as at July 2017 and ensure the sustenance of the Social Intervention Programme such as N-power, which has created 200,000 jobs and is set to create 300,000 more this year; the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme that provides one meal a day to 3,065,000 pupils in 14 states and the Conditional Cash Transfer from which 30,000 households have benefitted from the N,5000 monthly stipend.
Mohammed also gave the assurance that government will continue to improve on power generation, which has increased from 2,690MW to over 6,000MW.
Earlier, Tijjani Yunus, the Convener of the Broadcast Media Editors, pledged the partnership of the group with the Federal Government in its effort to develop the country.