Buhari’s New Year Broadcast: See What The President Has To Say About Fuel Scarcity, Restructuring, Electricity, Others [SEE FULL SPEECH]

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President Muhammadu Buhari on
Monday delivered a national broadcast to Nigerians.
In the speech, the president
spoke on issues like the ongoing fuel scarcity, calls for restructuring, the
electricity situation, among others.
Read the president’s full speech
below…
I join my fellow citizens this
morning to welcome and celebrate the New Year 2018. This year promises to be
pivotal in our quest for CHANGE.
Unfortunately, I am saddened to
acknowledge that for many this Christmas and New Year holidays have been
anything but merry and happy. Instead of showing love, companionship and
charity, some of our compatriots chose this period to inflict severe hardship
on us all by creating unnecessary fuel scarcity across the country.
The consequence was that not many
could travel and the few who did had to pay exorbitant transport fares. This is
unacceptable given that NNPC had taken measures to ensure availability at all
depots. I am determined to get to the root of this collective blackmail of all
Nigerians and ensure that whichever groups are behind this manipulated hardship
will be prevented from doing so again.
Such unpatriotism will not divert
the Administration from the course we have set ourselves.
Our government’s watch word and policy thrust is
CHANGE. We must change our way of doing things or we will stagnate and be left
behind in the race to lift our people out of poverty and into prosperity.
My address to fellow Nigerians
this morning is devoted mainly to informing you about the intense efforts this
Administration is putting to address our country’s huge infrastructural
deficit.

We are going to make significant
in-roads in advancing road, rail and power projects across the country.
The Ministry of Power, Works and
Housing is one of the drivers of this Government’s commitment to renew and
increase Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure in order to achieve global economic
competitiveness as targeted under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
With regards to Railways, we have
set ourselves ambitious targets. Already in construction stage is the
Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway.
The line should reach Ibadan from
Lagos by the end of 2019 and will carry two million passengers per year and
five million tons of cargo will be transported every year giving a substantial
boost to the country’s economy.
Construction of the Kano – Kaduna
segment is expected to commence this year and reach Kaduna by the end of 2019.
By the end of 2021 the two ends will be joined so that we will have standard
gauge railway across the main North-South trading route.
The Abuja – Kaduna route will be
boosted by additional rolling stock next Thursday and will be able to handle
one million commuters annually.
At the same time I have approved
and negotiations will be concluded in the first part of this year for the Port
Harcourt to Maiduguri line covering Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Enugu, Awka,
Abakaliki, Makurdi, Lafia, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, Yola and Damaturu. The Abuja to
Itakpe line will go through Baro and terminate in Warri with construction of a
new seaport at Warri.
Negotiations are also advanced
for the construction of other railway lines, firstly from Kano to Maradi in
Niger Republic passing through Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibia to Maradi.
Secondly, Lagos to Calabar the
“Coastal Rail” through Ore, Benin, Agbor, Asaba, Onitsha, Sapele, Ughelli,
Warri, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Port Harcourt, Aba, Uyo and Calabar. In the next few
years, all these Nigerian cities will be linked by functional modern rail
systems, giving enormous boost to the social and economic life of our people.
With respect to the Abuja Capital
Light Rail, progress has reached 98% completion, as at 64% completion when we
assumed office. Only test runs remain before start of operations.
This train service will stimulate
economic activities in the Federal Capital and provide residents with an
efficient and safe transportation system. Twelve railway sub-stations around
the capital over a 45.2 kilometre route will serve as a catalyst and a pull
factor to the economy of the area. The Light Rail System will reduce traffic
congestion and carbon emission in line with the Administration’s policy on
climate change.
Management of the Federal Road
Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has been reconstituted and has been charged with a
12 week rapid intervention in road repairs to cover all the geo-political
zones. Government is undertaking repairs and maintenance of 44 roads within the
six geo-political zones.
Twenty five major highways will
be funded under the N100b SUKUK facility. Each geo-political zone will benefit
by an equal amount of N16.67b. The following major highways are to receive
special attention:
a. Oyo – Ogbomosho,
b. Ofusu – Ore – Ajebandele –
Shagamu,
c. Yenagoa Road Junction – Kolo
Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm,
d. Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual
Carriage Way,
e. Onitsha – Enugu Expressway,
f. Kaduna Eastern Bypass,
g. Dualization of Kano –
Maiduguri Road,
h. Dualization of Abuja – Lokoja
– Benin Road,
i. Dualization of Suleja – Minna
Road.
In addition, Government has
approved work to start on the re-construction of Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano
road which is in a state of disrepair. Work will soon start and is expected to
be completed in 2019.
More Nigerians across the country
are experiencing improved power supply to their homes and businesses. However,
power remains a concern to this government because too many people still do not
have regular and reliable supply.
The Payment Assurance Guarantee
Scheme which started in January 2016 has enabled the Nigerian Bulk Electricity
Trader to raise so far N701 billion to assure Generation Companies of at least
80% payment for any power delivered to the national grid.
Consequently, generation has now
reached 7,000MW. On December 8, 2017 the country achieved 5,155MW of power
delivered to consumers, the highest level ever recorded.
Several moribund projects have
been revived. Repairs of Afam Power Station added 110MW in 2017 and another
240MW will be added this year through a private investment partnership.
Katsina Power Project is now
being tested and producing 10MW of power from wind for the first time in
Nigeria. It should be fully operational this year.
The Zungeru 700MW Hydroelectric
Power Project, stalled by court cases is due for completion in 2019. The
transmission and other requirements to operate the 30MW Gurara Phase 1
Hydroelectric Plant, the 40MW Kashimbilla Hydroelectric Plant and the 215 MW Kaduna
Gas/LPG/Diesel Power Plant will also be completed this year.
A landmark project, Mambilla
Hydroelectric Power Project is at last taking off. This project has been on the
drawing Board for 40 years, but now the engineering, procurement and
construction contract for the 3,050MW project has been agreed with a Chinese
joint venture Company with a financing commitment from the government of China.
Completion is targeted for 2023.
As I mentioned earlier, the
Transmission Company of Nigeria can now distribute all the 7,000MW that can be
generated. TCN and the Niger Delta Holding Company have added 1,950MVA of 330
down to 132KV transformer capacity of 10 transmission stations and 2,930MVA of
132 down to 33KV transformer capacity of 42 sub-stations including Ikot Ekpene,
Aba, Alagbon, Ajah, Ejigbo, Funtua and Zaria.
This Administration is working
with the privatised distribution Companies to overcome the continuing
challenges of distribution.
These massive public works should
spearhead the recovery and lead millions back to employment. You will recall
that it was not until last year that we got out of the economic recession into
which the country had fallen as a consequence of past unsustainable economic
policies which projected short-term illusory growth.
The government is slowly
stabilizing the economy.
It was in order to change the
steady and steep decline that we adopted the more sustainable policies and
programmes captured in the Economic Recovery Plan. Diversification efforts have
resulted in improved output particularly in agriculture and solid minerals
sectors. The relative exchange rate stability has improved manufacturing sector
performance.
We have got to get used to
discipline and direction in economic management. The days of business as usual
are numbered.
Two years ago I appealed to
people to go back to the land. I am highly gratified that agriculture has
picked up, contributing to the government’s effort to re-structure the economy.
Rice imports will stop this year. Local rice, fresher and more nutritious will
be on our dishes from now on.
By the same token, I am today
appealing to enterprising Nigerians with ideas and unemployed graduates and
other able-bodied and literate men and women with ideas not to just sit and
wait for employment from the government or the Organized Private Sector. Great
nations are built by enterprising people who turn their hands to anything that
circumstances dictate.
In respect of political
developments, I have kept a close watch on the on-going debate about
“Restructuring”. No human law or edifice is perfect. Whatever structure we
develop must periodically be perfected according to changing circumstances and
the country’s socio-economic developments. We Nigerians can be very impatient
and want to improve our conditions faster than may be possible considering our
resources and capabilities. When all the aggregates of nationwide opinions are
considered, my firm view is that our problems are more to do with process than
structure.
We tried the Parliamentary
system: we jettisoned it. Now there are shrill cries for a return to the
Parliamentary structure. In older democracies these systems took centuries to
evolve so we cannot expect a copied system to fit neatly our purposes. We must
give a long period of trial and improvement before the system we have adopted
is anywhere near fit for purpose.
However, there is a strong case
for a closer look at the cost of government and for the public services long
used to extravagance, waste and corruption to change for the better. I assure
you that government is ever receptive to ideas which will improve governance
and contribute to the country’s peace and stability.
As the electioneering season
approaches politicians must avoid exploiting ethnicity and religion by linking
ethnicity with religion and religion with politics. Such must be avoided at all
costs if we are to live in harmony.
In this respect the rest of
Nigeria could learn from the South Western States who have successfully
internalized religion, ethnicity and politics.
Political discourse should be
conducted with civility, decorum and in a constitutional manner. We all have a
collective responsibility to strengthen our democracy and entrench the rule of
law. We should draw encouragement from the series of bye-elections conducted by
INEC last year which were generally violence free and their outcomes adjudged
to be free and fair.
Before I conclude my address I
must reassure my fellow citizens that security of life and property is still
top of our government’s agenda. We have since beaten Boko Haram. Isolated
attacks still occur, but even the best-policed countries cannot prevent determined
criminals from committing terrible acts of terror as we have seen during the
past years in Europe, Asia, Middle East, elsewhere in Africa and in America.
Our government remains determined
to protect all Nigerians in line with our election pledge and promises. On
behalf of all Nigerians let me offer our thanks to the Armed forces, the
Police, other para-military forces and traditional authorities who are working
round the clock to ensure that you and I go about our normal business in
reasonable safety.
Terrorism and urban crimes are
world-wide phenomena and our security forces are continuously adapting their
responses to changing threats.
With regard to rampant cases of
kidnappings, we are taking immediate short-term measures to combat this new
evil creeping into our societies. Tighter police methods and swift and severe
punishment for those proved to be engaged in kidnapping are on the way.
With respect to Niger Delta,
Government is still engaging responsible leadership of the Communities to help
in identifying and addressing genuine grievances of the region. Our clean-up
programme in collaboration with the United Nations is making satisfactory
progress.
I am grateful to all the
Governors and other Political & Community leaders of the Niger Delta States
for their part in bringing relative peace to the areas.
Finally let me again express my
heartfelt thanks to all Nigerians who prayed for me during my illness last
year. I feel deeply humbled by your prayers and good wishes and I am more
determined than ever to serve you to the best of my ability.
Good morning. And I wish everyone
a Happy New Year.
____________________________________

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