Today was an important one for Nigeria, the presidency and the legislature. The 2017 budget was presented by President Muhammadu Buhari at a joint session of the upper and lower chambers.
At the presentation, President Buhari reiterated and emphasized the same messages his administration has preached from the onset and we know that the president is still determined to effect change.
Today’s event has got a lot of Nigerians asking the question “What did the Buhari administration do with the 2016 budget?” but the president has relayed detailed information of what we should expect from the 2017 budget moving forward.
Here are 7 noteworthy points from President Buhari’s budget presentation speech:
Of course, he started with his personal all-time favourite, blames:
1. “For many years we depended on oil for foreign exchange revenues. In the days of high oil prices, we did not save, we squandered. We wasted our large foreign exchange reserves to import nearly everything we consume. Our food, our clothing, our manufacturing inputs, our fuel and much more. In the past 18 months when we experienced low oil prices, we saw our foreign exchange earnings cut by about 60 per cent“.
Making a case for locally-made goods:
2. “By importing nearly everything, we provide jobs for young men and women in the countries that produce what we import, while our own young people wander around jobless. By preferring imported goods, we ensure steady jobs for the nationals of other countries while our own farmers, manufacturers, engineers and marketers remain jobless“.
3. “We will patronise local entrepreneurs. We will promote the manufacturing powerhouses in Aba, Calabar, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Nnewi, Onitsha and Ota. From light manufacturing to cement production and petrochemicals, our objective is to make Nigeria a new manufacturing hub“.
4. “Across the country, our farmers, traders and transporters are seeing a shift in their fortunes. From Argungu in Kebbi to Abakalaki in Ebonyi, rice farmers and millers are seeing their products move. We must replicate such success in other staples like wheat, sugar, soya, tomato and dairy products“.
Something that sounds like good news:
5. “I am pleased to announce today that on 2nd December 2016, Morocco and Nigeria signed an ambitious collaboration agreement to revive the abandoned Nigerian fertiliser blending plants. The agreement focuses on optimising local materials while only importing items that are not available locally.”
6. “This programme has already commenced and we expect that in the first quarter of 2017, it will create thousands of jobs and save Nigeria 200 million dollars of foreign exchange and over N60 billion in subsidy“.
And the mantra:
7. “We will CHANGE our habits and we will CHANGE Nigeria”.
Yes we will.