President Goodluck Jonathan and top officials of his administration Wednesday assessed the performance of the federal government under his leadership in the last two years and gave it a pass mark.
Jonathan, Vice-President Namadi Sambo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Anyim Pius Anyim, Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as well as her counterpart in the Ministry of National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, said despite the challenges facing the nation, the administration had done well so far in giving Nigerians dividends of democracy. They all spoke at the presentation of the mid-term report of the administration to Nigerians at a colourful ceremony held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, as part of activities to mark Democracy Day.
According to the president, in spite of the insecurity plaguing parts of the country, Nigeria remains the favourite investment destination in Africa. He said the economy had attracted a lot of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), recorded an impressive growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and surpassed its annual growth rate in eight out of the 14 broad areas of the transformation agenda. Nigeria’s global ranking by GDP, he said, had improved from 44th position in 2010 to 36th position now.
Jonathan said his administration decided to present the mid-term report as part of the Democracy Day celebrations because the day was not just a public holiday, but an opportunity for stocktaking and reflections on the meaning, gains and sustainability of democracy. The president also urged Nigerians to be objective in assessing his administration and members of his cabinet. Although the president refrained from an elaborate exposition on his achievements, the presentation of the mid-term report became an opportunity for key officials of his government to score the administration high in terms of delivery on its promises.
In giving an overview of the performance of the economy under the Jonathan administration, Okonjo-Iweala said the economy remained strong despite myriad challenges. According to her, the current growth rate of Nigeria’s GDP makes it one of the fastest growing economies in the world. She added that the exchange rate of the naira to other currencies has remained stable; inflation has slowed down to 9.1 per cent from 12.4 per cent in 2011, while external reserves has risen from $32.08 billion in May 2011 to $48.4 billion now.
Similarly, Okonjo-Iweala said the cost of governance had been on the decline in line with the policy of reducing recurrent expenditure and completing unfinished capital projects. She said government’s annual borrowing had fallen from N852 billion in 2011 to N588 billion in 2013, while debt to GDP has remained at 21 per cent, the lowest among its peers…