By Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity)
In keeping with the promise by President Muhammadu Buhari that governance would not take the back seat in spite of his busy campaign schedules to all the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory leading to the presidential election on February 23, 2019, below are hard facts of promise kept.
1. MINIMUM WAGE
January 9, 2019: President Buhari inaugurated the Presidential Technical Advisory Committee on the Implementation of the National Minimum Wage (PTAC), with a mandate to advise the Federal Government on how best to fund, in a sustained manner, the additional costs of implementing the imminent increase in the National Minimum Wage.
The Committee, chaired by Mr. Bismarck Rewane, submitted its report on Monday, March 25, 2019.
Also in January 2019, President Buhari submitted a National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill to the National Assembly for passage, following the approval of the National Council of State. The Bill is now awaiting presidential assent.
President Buhari: “I want to make it clear that there is no question about whether the National Minimum Wage will be reviewed upwards. I am committed to a review of the Minimum Wage.”
2. FINANCING GOVERNMENT
January 23, 2019: The Strategic Revenue Growth Initiatives (SRGI) programme of the Federal Government was launched by Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, in Abuja
SRGI is built on three (3) main planks:
Achieve sustainability in revenue generation Identify new and enhance the enforcement of existing revenue streams Achieve cohesion in the revenue ecosystem (people and tools).
The Steering Committee of the SRGI, with membership drawn from all the major revenue-generating agencies, held its inaugural meeting on February 12, 2019.
3. FINANCING INFRASTRUCTURE
January 25, 2019: President Buhari signed Executive Order 007 of 2019: The Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme.
Through this Scheme, companies that are willing and able to spend their own funds on constructing roads to their factories or farms, will recover their construction costs by paying reduced taxes, over a period of time.
In the first phase, 19 Eligible Road Projects are to be undertaken by 6 leading manufacturing and construction firms, in 11 States, and in each of Nigeria’s six geo-political zones, as follows:
Dangote Industries Limited; Lafarge Africa Plc; Unilever Nigeria Plc; Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc; Nigeria LNG Limited; and China Road and Bridge Corporation Nigeria Limited.
a) Construction of Ashaka-Bajoga Highway in Gombe State;
b) Reconstruction of Dikwa-Gambaru-Ngala Road in Borno State;
c) Reconstruction of Bama-Banki Road in Borno State;
d) Rehabilitation of Sharada Road in Kano State;
e) Rehabilitation of Nnamdi Azikiwe Expressway / Bypass, in Kaduna State;
f) Reconstruction of Birnin Gwari Expressway – Road in Kaduna State;
g) Reconstruction of Birnin Gwari – Dansadau Road in Kaduna State;
h) Reconstruction of Makurdi-Yandev-Gboko Road in Benue State;
i) Reconstruction of Zone Roundabout-House of Assembly Road in Benue State;
j) Reconstruction of Obajana-Kabba Road in Kogi State;
k) Reconstruction of Ekuku-Idoma-Obehira Road in Kogi State;
l) Construction of Adavi-Eba-Ikuehi-Obeiba-Obokore Road in Kogi State;
m) Rehabilitation of Lokoja-Ganaja Road in Kogi State;
n) Ofeme Community Road Network and Bridges in Abia State;
o) Rehabilitation of Obele-Ilaro-Papalanto-Shagamu Road in Ogun State;
p) Reconstruction of Sokoto Road in Ogun State;
q) Reconstruction of Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki-Ojota Road in Lagos State;
r) Construction of Bodo-Bonny Road & Bridges across Opobo Channel in Rivers State; and
s) Rehabilitation of Benin City – Asaba Road in Edo State.
President Buhari: “I call on other local and international investors, as well as the State Governments, to embrace this roads infrastructure development Scheme. I personally invite you to submit viable proposals for more road projects, such that, in time, the scope of this initiative will cover all 36 States of the Federation.”
4. CONSUMER PROTECTION
January 30, 2019: President Buhari assented to the new Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA), Nigeria’s first unified and comprehensive Competition legislation.
The new Act establishes the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), to replace the Consumer Protection Council.
The goal of the FCCPA is to foster a business environment in which markets are competitive and the rights of consumers are protected.
The functions of the FCCPC include the review and approval of mergers and acquisitions, to ensure that they do not have anti-competitive effects in the relevant market.
What does this mean for the Nigerian consumer?
It means that consumers have a right to expect the following:
That product and service information is presented in plain and understandable language Full disclosure of prices of goods and services A written record of purchased goods or services Receive quality and timely performance and completion of services or timely notice of unavoidable delay The choice to cancel an advance reservation, booking, or order
5. SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES
February 8, 2019: President Buhari presided over the signing ceremony for a Partnership between the Nigeria Special Economic Zones Investment Company (NSEZCo) and Strategic Investment Partners. The ceremony also marked the full operationalization of the NSEZCo.
Project MINE – Made In Nigeria For Exports is the Buhari Administration’s Special Economic Zones programme that seeks to boost manufacturing’s share of GDP to 20%, generating $30bn in annual export earnings; and creating 1.5 million new jobs, all by 2025.
A new company, the Nigeria Special Economic Zones Investment Company (NSEZCo) has been incorporated as the delivery vehicle for Project-MINE.
NSEZCo is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) jointly owned by Government of Nigeria (Ministry of Finance) and a group of Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), including the Africa Export Import Bank, Africa Development Bank, Africa Finance Corporation, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority.
NSEZCo will mobilize public and private sector funding to develop world-class export-oriented industrial zones in Nigeria, offering advanced infrastructure and facilities at competitive costs.
The projects in the pilot phase include Enyimba Economic City, Funtua Cotton Cluster and Lekki Model Industrial Park. Infrastructure upgrade work is also ongoing in the brownfield Calabar and Kano Free Trade Zones, for which the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the award of contracts in excess of N19.45 billion.
NSEZCo will be working with a range of local and international partners – anchor tenants, development advisers and consultants to deliver on this project.
President Buhari: “When we committed to the implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan and launched our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan to fast track implementation, we had a vision of Nigeria as the pre-eminent manufacturing hub in Sub-Saharan Africa and a major exporter to our immediate West African sub-region, the rest of Africa and indeed the World.”
February 9, 2019: President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned the NSIA – LUTH advanced cancer treatment centre located in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos.
Structured under a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement between the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA and the LUTH, the project is a US$11 million investment for the rehabilitation, equipping and operation of an existing cancer center co-located in LUTH, which will provide advanced radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment services.
The PPP is executed as a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT). The NSIA owns the center 100% today and but full ownership is expected to revert to LUTH after 10 years of operations.
The upgraded facility will run as a joint venture between NSIA Healthcare Development and Investment Company (“NHDIC”) and LUTH.
The centre is the first of three projects with the other two, NSIA-AKTH (Kano) and NSIA-FMCU (Umuahia) Diagnostic Centers, scheduled for commissioning in the first half of 2019.
President Buhari: “We promised to effect policies that would continually remove debilitating constraints on the health sector and create sustainable structures to strengthen our healthcare institutions for the benefit of the people. Today’s commissioning, is in part, the fulfilment of our commitment to Nigerians for quality and accessible healthcare.”
7. EASE OF DOING BUSINESS
March 1, 2019: Commencement of National Action Plan 4.0, which will run from March 1 to April 29, 2019.
This was accompanied by the launch, on March 15, 2019, of the reportgov.ng Website and App to enable the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) / Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES) obtain feedback from citizens.
PEBEC/EBES have also launched, in addition to ongoing stakeholder engagements across the public sector and organised private sector, the Business Made Easy campaign to communicate the reforms
NAP 4.0 will run from the 1st of March to the 29th of April, 2019. It aims to deepen the reforms delivered over the past 3 years and drive institutionalization.
NAP 4.0 will focus on initiatives such as:
enforcing compliance with SLAs across all indicators/focus areas, driving the passage of the CAM Bill 2018 for improved effectiveness of company law in Nigeria enhancing efficiency in the small claims court, and enhancing the application and approval system for visas on arrival, to mention a few
Over 140 reforms have been implemented in the past 3 years to make doing business in Nigeria easier, including:
Online reservation of a business name within 4 hours Registration of a new company with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) within 24 hours Automatic generation of Tax Identification Number (TIN) after completion of registration Creation of National Collateral Registry (NCR) to support the use of movable assets (SMEs can now use movable assets as collateral for loans such as motor vehicles, machinery, inventory, even jewelry). Passage of the Credit Bureau Act 2017 Small Claims Courts established in Lagos and Kano for cost-effective and fast resolution of debt recovery disputes involving small claims of up to N5,000,000 Filing and payment of federal taxes online available; E-platform accessible to all classes of taxpayers Removal of the Infrastructure Development Charge (IDC) for 2-floor warehouse construction permits applications in Lagos State Implementation of 24/7 operations in Apapa Port Simplified visa-on-arrival process; application done online and issued within 48hrs
Some reforms that we expect will be delivered in 2019:
The new Company and Allied Matters (CAM) Bill, which seeks to repeal and replace the existing CAM Act Establishment of a National Trading Platform for Nigeria’s Ports: a unified digital platform through which all imports and exports happen.
Find out more here: http://www.businessmadeeasy.ng/
March 28, 2019: President Buhari launched a new Pension Scheme that allows the self-employed and persons working in organisations with less than 3 employees to save for the provision of pension at retirement or incapacitation.
It is a voluntary, self-saving scheme available only to those not currently participating in the existing mandatory Contributory Pension Scheme.
To formally flag off commencement of the Scheme, President Buhari supervised the registration of Sagir Shawai, a Motor Tricycle operator in the FCT, and presented his enrolment certificate to him.
Find out more here: https://www.pencom.gov.ng/micro-pension/
Download the Guidelines and the FAQs
President Buhari: “In the past three years, we provided grants, concessionary loans and technical support through our SME clinics to farmers, traders and SMEs. We have seen lives positively change because of these initiatives. The Micro Pension Plan is the natural next step. The program guarantees that when these hard working citizens retire, they can still live in dignity and comfort.”
For the first time in Nigeria’s recent history, election season did not halt or negatively affect on-going Federal Government construction projects across the country. Various projects (Road, Rail and Power) are currently proceeding on schedule:
Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail Project (160km) Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway (375km) Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi Road (220km) Lagos-Sagamu-Ibadan Expressway (130km) Kano-Maiduguri Highway Second Niger Bridge (11.9km) Afam Fast Power Plant (240MW) Zungeru Power Plant (700MW) Bodo-Bonny Bridges and Road (38km) Energizing Economies and Energizing Education programmes, taking clean and sustainable electricity to markets and University campuses across the country.
In February 2019, Nigeria formally launched its first ever on-grid solar power project, in Torankawa community in Yabo LGA of Sokoto State. The solar plant provides uninterrupted electricity supply to 350 households in the community. For about five years before the completion of this project the community was cut off from the grid.
CITIZENS’ PORTAL: The Buhari Administration has also launched a Citizen’s Portal on Infrastructure, to showcase the Government’s investments in infrastructure across the country: https://citizensportaloninfrastructure.com/
President Buhari: “We have done more work with less resources in agriculture, infrastructure and social investments… Infrastructure development is [an] area in which we have made a lot of progress. Our approach was a logical one. We simply prioritised the completion of critical on-going projects over the introduction of new ones.”
10. ECONOMIC INDICES
The National Bureau of Statistics released figures for Q4 2018 economic growth: 2.38 percent; and for the Full Year 2018: 1.93 percent – more than double the Full Year 2017 growth rate of 0.82 percent.
This growth in Q4 2018, as well as for the Full Year, owed a great deal to the performance of the non-oil sector. The non-oil sector grew at 2.7% in Q4 2018 versus 1.14% in the oil sector.
In Q4 2018:
The non-oil sector recorded its strongest growth since the Q4 2015. (The non-oil sector also grew by 2% in Full Year 2018, considerably better than its 0.47% growth in the whole of 2017). The services sector, which accounts for 53.62% of GDP, registered its strongest growth performance in 11 quarters. 39 out of 46 economic activities recorded growth
There has been a sustained accretion to External Reserves from $23.81 billion in September 2016 to $44 billion as of end-March, 2019.
Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) in the month of March 2019 stood at 57.4 index points, indicating expansion in the manufacturing sector for the 24th consecutive month.
Inflation Rate has been trending downwards from 18.55% as at December 2016 to 15.37% in December 2017, 11.44% in December 2018 (below the ERGP target of 12.42% for 2018) and further to 11.31% in February 2019.
Total FX Turnover at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEX) from launch in April 2017 to March 2019 = US$105.9 billion.