Buhari: I felt like absconding when I took office

Buhari: I felt like absconding when I took office

Thursday, November 3, 2016 5:31 pm

President Buhari today, receiving the report from Acting DG of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Mr. Jonathan Juma.

President Buhari today, receiving the report from Acting DG of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Mr. Jonathan Juma.


President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday attributed the country’s current economic situation to bad management of the economy in the past 16 years by previous administrations.

President Buhari stated this when he received a Research Work of the Course 38 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, near Jos.

The theme of the report is: “Strengthening Institutional Mechanisms for Poverty Reduction and Inclusive Development in Nigeria”.

The President, however, noted that recession was not peculiar to Nigeria, saying that there were `far, far worse cases than Nigeria’.

It is also important to note that the economic recession is not the making of this administration but rather the consequences of the bad management of the economy in the past couple of decades.

“For the 16 years and eight consecutive governments, it was the other party and you knew the unprecedented revenue released.

“The average production which can be verified, was 2.1million barrel per day, 1999 to 2014.

“The average cost of each Nigerian barrel of oil was 100 per dollars when we came it dived to less than 30 per barrel and it is now hustling between 40 and 50 dollars.

“Actually, I felt like absconding because 27 out of 36 states of the federation cannot pay salary and we know the lower income group they depend on salary to pay rent and to manage their families.’’

He expressed optimism that the country would emerge from the recession `vibrant and strong’.

President Buhari, who endorsed the report presented, said that strengthening the nation’s institutions was key to reducing poverty and engendering inclusive development in the country.

He, therefore, reiterated his administration’s commitment to finding lasting solutions to the nation’s economic and structural imbalance.

“I am glad that the report presented today has given us reason to keep faith in our ability to overcome our challenges.

“There is no doubt that poverty, for decades, has been a major challenge to us as a nation despite the country’s enormous wealth.

“Several policies and programmes that have been implemented over the years, as rightly observed by the report, have not broken the cycle of poverty in Nigeria.

“From the findings of the research by the participants, it is evident that strengthening our institutions is key to reducing poverty and engendering inclusive development.’’

President Buhari stated that his administration would continue to implement people-oriented programmes as part of deliberate efforts at reducing poverty in the country.

According to him, it is impossible for his administration to ignore the poor, whom he said, contributed immensely in ensuring electoral victory for the APC-led Federal Government.

“It is impossible for this administration to ignore the poor who made great sacrifice to bring us to government.

“Ours, more than any other government in the history of Nigeria, is a people’s government.

“We, therefore, must and we will keep faith with the people.

“It is in this light that I wish to declare the commitment of this administration to the Sustainable Development Goals, most especially to ending extreme poverty in Nigeria.

“It is not going to be easy, but we are committed to dealing with the challenges in a decisive manner.’’

The President noted that the report prescribed some concrete measures on how to reduce poverty in the country.

He commended NIPSS for “keeping faith and moving us towards a better society.

“The Institute, even with the limited resources, was able to come up with such policy-oriented research findings.’’

He assured that the Federal Executive Council would carefully study the report and implement all the practical recommendations.

In his remarks, the acting Direcor General of NIPSS, Mr Jonathan Juma, noted that a lot could be done by the institute if more robust budgetary support was extended to it.

According to him, for the institute to operate as an “apex institution” and be at the forefront of relevant researches in furtherance of national development, it is required to recruit and retain top level academics, very senior technocrats, and other experienced specialized experts.

“At the moment, I must confess to you that the national institute is operating below its conceived capacity due to its inability to attract a full complement of requisite staff, who would conduct research across broad strategic areas of national life and also impact new knowledge.

“The financial situation of the national institute is precarious.

“The payments for utility services are in arrears and worse still, we have to live with threats of litigation from numerous creditors.

“Operational vehicles in the institute’s fleet have aged and are a source of constant embarrassment,’’ he said.

Juma, therefore, called for a decisive presidential intervention that would make funds available to the institute. (NAN)


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