This file photo shows President Buhari during a meeting with state governors on August 25, 2017
In order to stabilise the polity, the Federal Government supported states with N1.641tn between 2015 and 2017.
President Muhammadu Buhari said this in his Independence Day broadcast on Sunday morning.
The amount was provided to the states in the form of Excess Crude Account loans (N200bn) in 2015; Budget support facility (N441bn) in 2016; and Stabilisation fund release (N1tn) in 2017.
“This was done to enable states to pay outstanding salaries, pensions and small business suppliers who had been all but crippled over the years,” the President said.
As part of efforts aimed at reviving the nation’s economy, the President said his administration remained proactive with its diversification policy.
He cited the Federal Government’s agricultural Anchor Borrowers Programme as an initiative that recorded outstanding success.
Launched in November 2015, President Buhari said N43.92bn has been released through the Central Bank of Nigeria and 13 participating institutions with 200,000 smallholder farmers from 29 states benefitting.
These farmers went on to cultivate a variety of crops including rice, wheat, maize, cotton, soya-beans, and groundnuts with some venturing into fish farming and poultry.
In the process, 233,000 hectares of farmland had been cultivated, according to the President.
“These initiatives have been undertaken in close collaboration with the states. I wish to commend the efforts of the Governors of Kebbi, Lagos, Ebonyi and the Jigawa States for their support to the rice and fertilizer revolutions,” President Buhari said.
“Equally commendable are contributions of the Governors of Ondo, Edo, Delta, Imo, Cross River, Benue, Ogun, Kaduna and Plateau States for their support for the Presidential initiative for palm oil, rubber, cashew, cassava, potatoes and other crops.”
Also, the President informed Nigerians that Since December 2016, his administration has produced over seven million 50Kg bags of fertilizer with 11 blending plants with a capacity of 2.1 million metric tons reactivated.
“We have saved $150 million in foreign exchange and N60 billion in subsidy. Fertiliser prices have dropped from N13,000 per 50Kg bag to N5,500,” he said.
In addition to that, the President said the Federal Government created a special window for manufacturers, investors and exporters’ foreign exchange requirements, which has proved very effective.
“Since April, about $7 billion has come through this window alone. The main effect of these policies is improved confidence in the economy and better investment sentiments,” he said.
“The country has recorded seven consecutive months of lower inflation, Naira rate is beginning to stabilise, appreciating from N525 per $1 in February this year to N360 today. Broad-based economic growth is leading us out of recession.”
For President Buhari, another positive for the economy is an improvement in power supply.
He said, “Power remains a huge problem. As of September 12th, production of power reached an all-time high of 7,001 Megawatts. Government is increasing its investment, clearing up the operational and financial log jam bedeviling the industry. We hope to reach 10,000 Megawatts by 2020.
“Key priorities include better energy mix through solar and Hydro technologies. I am glad to say that after many years of limbo, Mambilla Power Project has taken off.”