The Presidency on Sunday said President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to repaying Nigerians for their support during his health challenges by working hard to deliver on his promises to the country.
Presidential Spokesman and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, stated this while speaking Pyramid Radio, Kano over the weekend.
He declared that the President Buhari had walked his talk within the first week of his return with an intense desire to pay back to Nigerians by way of keeping their trust and serving their interests.
“His reply to the people for their support and trust is to work much harder for them.
The President didn’t have a day off or even a light week at all throughout his week of resumption,” his spokesman Garba Shehu said in an interview with Pyramid Radio in Kano State.
In reaction to a question on the engagement of the President in his first in office, Malam Garba told his interviewer that: “I read those analyses and I believe they were mostly wrong. What they don’t understand is that the President doesn’t follow official working hours because he is on duty all the time. He has another office by his living room so he works from home when most civil servants have closed.”
The Presidential spokesman stated that contrary to some of the assumptions, President Buhari had an engaging week devoted mostly to policy issues not ceremonial events.
Malam Garba disclosed that on Tuesday the President followed up his meeting with the Vice President getting details from the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele on the liquidity situation of the country, the issue of reserves and the outlook for the rest of the year.
He then met with the Presiding officials of the parliament, Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara. Those two arms have dealt with the issue of his vacation with great sensitivity.
On Wednesday, the President presided at the Federal Executive Council.
Shehu told his listeners that the President came well prepared for the meeting, appearing as if he had not been away for over a month.
“The noticeable thing about the last meeting was that it dwelled on policy. The meeting didn’t discuss contracts.
“On Thursday, the President had a joint sitting with the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, the Ministers of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and that of Budget and Planning, Udoma Udo-Udoma. They discussed the country’s economic situation, the progress on the 2017 budget and liquidity issues.
Efforts to get the nation out of state of misery brought about by economic recession are yielding much results in the area of Agriculture, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu told the Pyramid Radio in Kano.
“Because the elite don’t care for ordinary people they are saying that government is doing nothing but we are doing a lot for ordinary people. They don’t want us to talk about the 14 solar power projects that have been licensed to boost electricity supply in the country; the Mambila power project which will soon leave the drawing boards and the many Chinese projects including the standard gauge railway. This country has more important things to talk about instead of dwelling on trivia.”
He said the price of a bag of fertilizer is down from about N9,000-N10,000 per bag to 5,500. This country has about 32 fertilizer blending plants that have remained idle for many years but that about half that number are now in production with many of them running three shifts a day. According to him, some of them employ as many as 100 workers.
Speaking about the flagship agricultural programme of rice production in the country, the Presidential spokesman said that “while 2014, we bought 1.2 million tons of rice from Thailand, only 58,000 tons were imported last year.”
Malam Garba said as a result of the country’s growing rice production, assisted by the decision by the government to deny foreign exchange through the Central Bank for the importation of rice “parboiled rice mills in some Asian countries are shutting down because Nigeria, one of the world’s largest importers is not buying. Five of such mills in Thailand servicing Nigeria have stopped production due to the withdrawal of our patronage.
Malam Garba also indicated that the administration’s agricultural revolution was bringing about other socio-economic changes in the country. “A recent survey in two urban areas in Jigawa state, the capital Dutse and Kiyawa showed that jobless young men are migrating from motor cycle taxi, achaba to farming.
In Kiyawa, it takes a long wait to catch a motor cycle taxi because they are rapidly disappearing. The young men are moving to the farms. These are development issues in the country that our media should pay attention to,” he said in the programme.
Asked whether the President will be launching the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative next week as is being speculated, Malam Garba said that President Muhammadu Buhari would allow the production processes take a firm root.