Today August 21, 2020 marks one year since President Buhari inaugurated his second-term cabinet. A lot has happened since then, in terms of policy development and implementation.
Here’s a list of highlights:
· President Buhari established new Ministries, including Police Affairs and Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, exactly a year ago, August 21, 2020.
· The Budget Implementation Cycle was successfully restored to a January-to-December Calendar, with the signing of the 2020 Appropriation Bill in December 2019.
· President Buhari signed into law a Finance Bill, to reform domestic tax laws, introduce tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets, and improve the business environment. It was the first time since the return of democracy in 1999 that a Federal Budget was accompanied by a passage of an enabling Finance Bill.
· President Buhari approved a 10 billion Naira Intervention Fund for the upgrade of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu. That project is now very close to completion.
· President Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)
· Nigeria rose 15 places on the World Bank Doing Business Index, to 131st position, from 146th, earning a place as one of ten top performing countries in the word
· President Buhari assented to the Deep Offshore (and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract) Act, a landmark legislative reform which will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in extra government revenues annually
· President Buhari performed the ground-breaking for the University of Transportation in Daura, an investment by CCECC in Nigeria. On a similar note, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo performed the ground-breaking for a new Wagon Assembly Plant in Kajola, Ogun State, which will produce rolling stock for Nigeria’s new Rail Lines, and create jobs for thousands of Nigerians.
· President Buhari approved the Financial Transparency Policy, mandating publication of Public Financial Information through an Open Treasury Portal.
· Nigerian has a new Visa Policy, that will improve the business environment, attract innovation and FDI, boost tourism and improve African integration.
· Nigeria commenced issuance of Visas on Arrival to all persons holding passports of African countries
· President Buhari approved the commencement of the Community Policing initiative, and has approved a 13.3 billion Naira take-off grant.
· Nigeria commenced Operation ‘Ex-Swift Response’, a multi-agency security operation to secure the nation’s land borders.
· President Buhari flagged-off construction of the Ajaokuta–Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline.
· President Buhari launched the the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Scheme. (Factsheet below)
· President Buhari established the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC), under the leadership of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. The ESC has since developed the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP), a 2.3 Trillion Naira stimulus package to help cushion the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. (Update below)
· The Federal Executive Council approved the kick-off of pre-engineering phase (and payment of part counterpart funding) of the Presidential Power Initiative, a government-to-government deal involving the Nigeria, Germany and Siemens AG.
· Final Investment Decision was reached on the US$10 billion Train 7 expansion of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited (in which the NNPC holds a 49 percent stake). This was followed by the signing of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the project. The Train 7 will expand NLNG’s capacity by 35 percent, and further position Nigeria as one of the leading producers and exporters of LNG in the world.
· Commencement of payment of increased Allowance (33,000 Naira monthly) to NYSC members.
· President Buhari established the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee (NHCC), and the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 (PTFCOVID19).
· President Buhari approved the release of a 10 billion Naira Grant to the Lagos State Government and a 5 billion Naira Grant to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), to support the Coronavirus Response.
· President Buhari signed an Amendment to Executive Order 8, the Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularization Scheme (VOARS).
· The Department of Petroleum Resources has commenced the bidding round for 57 Marginal Fields, the first such process in almost 20 years. Details here
· A National Special Public Works (SPW) programme kicked off in the first quarter of 2020, with a successful pilot programme in eight States. It is now being expanded nationwide, and will provide employment and stipends for 774,000 young Nigerians – 1,000 beneficiaries per Local Government) for three months, starting October 2020. Details here
· The Itakpe-Warri Railway Line is now ready for operations. Construction commenced more than three decades ago, and then the project was abandoned for many years, until President Buhari took office. It has now been completed and is ready to commence commercial operations, as Nigeria’s “Central Line.”
· Track-laying for the main section of the new Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Railway Line was completed in March 2020, almost exactly three years after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the project, on behalf of President Buhari.
· The Nigeria Police Trust Fund, established by the President in 2019, has now been operationalised, with the appointment and inauguration of a Board of Trustees, and an Executive Secretary.
· Nigeria defeated Polio – attaining, in Q3 2020, the status of being officially free from the Wild Polio Virus, for the first time in the country’s history.
· No fewer than three private Modular Refinery projects have been completed in 2020, a clear manifestation of the success of the New Vision for the Niger Delta, President Buhari’s Peace, Security and Development Agenda for the oil-producing region of Nigeria. The Modular Refining element of the New Vision involves extending policy and financing support to private investors seeking to establish Modular Refineries.
· The first of the dozen A-29 Super Tucano light attack, combat and reconnaissance aircraft ordered by Nigeria in a government-to-government deal with the United States successfully completed its inaugural flight at the production facility. The full fleet is scheduled for delivery in 2021.
· President Buhari approved the establishment of a 75 billion Naira Nigerian Youth Investment Fund (NYIF), to provide 5%-interest business loans to Nigerians aged between 18 and 35. Details here
· The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) launched a 50 billion Naira Household and SME support facility, to cushion the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic. As at July 2020, N49.195 billion has been disbursed, to over 92,000 beneficiaries.
· Applications opened (and have now closed) for a new Batch of beneficiaries for the N-Power Jobs Scheme, a component of the National Social Investment Programme, overseen by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. More than 5 million young Nigerians applied for the 400,000 places to be filled.
· The Federal Government approved a new Policy for the promotion of local production of Bitumen and other construction materials In Nigeria.
· President Buhari gives presidential assent to a landmark Bill amending the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).