By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will create new opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing and other long neglected sectors to address the challenges of poverty among Nigerians in 2020.
The president stated this in a letter addressed to Nigerians, released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Wednesday, to mark the beginning of 2020.
He maintained that his administration in 2020 would also realise increased value from oil and gas, delivering a more competitive, attractive and profitable industry, operating on commercial principles and free from political interference.
He said: “Just last week, we were able to approve a fair framework for the 10 billion dollars expansion of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, which will increase exports by 35 per cent, restore our position as a world leader in the sector and create thousands of jobs.
“The Amendment of the Deep Offshore Act in October signaled our intention to create a modern, forward-looking industry in Nigeria.
“I am confident that in 2020 we will be able to present a radical programme of reform for oil and gas that will excite investors, improve governance and strengthen protections for host communities and the environment.
“We can expect the pace of change in technology only to accelerate in the decade ahead. Coupled with our young and vibrant population, this offers huge opportunities if we are able to harness the most productive trends and tame some of the wilder elements.
“This is a delicate balance with which many countries are struggling. We are seeking an informed and mature debate that reflects our rights and responsibilities as citizens in shaping the boundaries of how best to allow technology to benefit Nigeria.’’
On the economy, Buhari disclosed that the government was making key infrastructure investments to enhance the ease of doing business.
“On transportation, we are making significant progress on key roads such as the Second Niger Bridge, Lagos – Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja – Kano highway. 2020 will also see tangible progress on the Lagos to Kano Rail line.
“Through Executive Order 007, we are also using alternative funding programmes in collaboration with private sector partners to fix strategic roads such as the Apapa-Oworonshoki Express way,’’ he said.
He revealed that Abuja and Port Harcourt have new international airport terminals, as will Kano and Lagos in 2020, saying when completed, all the projects would positively impact business operations in the country.
“These projects are not small and do not come without some temporary disruption; we are doing now what should have been done a long time ago.
“I thank you for your patience and look forward to the dividends that we and future generations will long enjoy.’’