Nigerian President Optimistic in State of the Nation Address

Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan
Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan believes the West African country has “made appreciable progress in the last one year” under his stewardship.

In his review of the state of the nation, and his administration’s achievements so far, Jonathan pledged to do more over the next three years.

“Today, progress has been made,” he said. “The country’s credit rating is positive, in contrast with many nations being downgraded.

“In 2011, our economy grew by 7.45 per cent. As at mid-May 2012, our foreign exchange reserves had risen to $37.02 billion, the highest level in 21 months.

“We have stabilised and improved our fiscal regime. We brought the fiscal deficit down to 2. 85 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) from 2.9 per cent in 2011.

“We reduced recurrent expenditures from 74 per cent to 71 per cent and reduced domestic borrowing from N852 billion in 2011 to N744 billion in 2012.

“We cut out over N100 billion of non-essential expenditure and increased our internally generated revenue from N200 billion to N467 billion,” Jonathan added.

On security, the president said the country would never be divided by the sectarian violence.

“In the last one year, we have taken specific steps to reduce opportunities and avenues for corruption, and to strengthen the capacity and integrity of our institutions,” he said. “I promise a sustained battle against the menace of corruption.”

Jonathan said his administration had followed a new course that would ensure enduring transparency and accountability.

“We are redrafting the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to ensure it meets the aspirations of all stakeholders given the current realities and future expectations in the global energy landscape,” he added.

“Work on the PIB will be concluded in June 2012 and formally submitted to the National Assembly.

“Additionally, a special task force dealing with governance and control of petroleum revenue and national refineries are finalising their work to ensure probity across the oil and gas sector, and self-sufficiency in refined petroleum products.”

President Jonathan also announced plans to build a Presidential Museum in Abuja. The museum, the first of its kind in Nigeria, will document the lives and times of Nigeria’s presidents and heads of government since 1960.

According to Jonathan the museum would remind Nigerians by extension, of the high points of the country’s national history.