MINISTER of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachukwu, has said new refineries will soon be built to curb incessant fuel scarcity bedevilling the country.
Apart from tackling the scarcity in the country, when fully operational, Nigeria will also stand a chance to export to other countries.
The minister was speaking in Kaduna, on Tuesday, during a townhall meeting organised by the Federal Ministry of Information.
This was as the Minister of Information, Lai Muhammed, said the Federal Ministry of Information decided to organise the townhall meeting to intimate Nigerians on how government had fared in the last 11 months.
The minister noted that “Nigerians voted for us, believing that we will carry out our promises. So, how have we fared so far? Well, we campaigned on three broad areas—to tackle insecurity, fight corruption and revive the economy.”
On the fight against insecurity, he said: “I am happy to inform this gathering that we have performed a rare feat by subduing Boko Haram, making it impossible for the group to carry out any more spectacular attacks as it did in the past, when it virtually strolled into Abuja to attack the Police Headquarters and the United Nations Complex.
“Some will argue that the insurgents are still carrying out sporadic suicide bombings and other attacks, even though they are now very few. Well, our answer to that is simple: By its very nature, no insurgency ends suddenly. They taper off with time. Insurgencies are not conventional wars and no agreements are signed to silence the guns.”
On the fight against corruption, the minister said: “Today, Nigerians are less tolerant of corruption and corrupt people than before. This is because we have raised the bar in the fight against this cankerworm. We have also brought to the attention of Nigerians the cost of corruption. Thanks to the sensitisation campaign we launched earlier this year. Nigerians now know the cost of corruption, instead of just talking about it in the abstract.
On the economy, he said: “This administration has decided to turn the disaster of the fall in the price of oil to a blessing, by working to diversify our economy away from oil.
“Agriculture, solid minerals, culture and tourism are some of the sectors we are currently working to rejuvenate so they can earn huge revenues for the country and create jobs. While these efforts are on, the administration has decided to plug all financial leakages through the Treasury Singles Account (TSA), into which trillions have accrued so far.”
Also, Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, disclosed the determination of the Federal Government to reduce the impact of oil on the economy.
Addressing participants at the Ogun State Investors’ Forum, which opened in Abeokuta, the state capital, on Tuesday, Adeosun said although oil accounts for 70 per cent of all government revenue, Nigerian was actually not an oil economy as it constituted only 13 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
“By fully harnessing the potential of our non-oil sectors, we can create a more diversified and resilient revenue base, which would provide the necessary fiscal buffers to insulate the economy against the impact of external shocks in the future,” the minister stated.
While reiterating the resolve of the Federal Government to redefine spending in order to get maximum impact, the minister explained that the current administration was determined to ensure that from now on, government spending in Nigeria would achieve maximum impact.
Noting that government spending in previous years had been ineffective and not directed in the right areas, the minister reiterated the focus of the government on investing in critical infrastructure to enable growth.
Adeosun also spoke on the need for the Federal Government to play its role so that states can focus on their core functions.
According to her, the Federal Government would level the playing field by removing rent-seeking opportunity to unleash entrepreneurial activity and job creation, adding that “we must engage in economic patriotism to support local job growth.”
She commended the Ogun State government for patronising local entrepreneurs in producing its conference bags.
Adeosun concluded by giving the assurance that government was fully aware of the current economic challenges facing individuals and businesses and was working very hard on resetting the economy on the path towards achieving sustainable growth.
She added that better days were ahead, with President Buhari’s resolve to checking corruption and wastage.