Alhaji Lai Mohammed says his only regret as a minister is that some Nigerians have failed to appreciate that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is doing so much with little resources.
Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, stated this at a Special Forum of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said with dwindling resources, no government in the history of Nigeria had implemented programmes alleviating poverty among women and vulnerable groups as well as created jobs for the youths as the Buhari administration had done.
The minister said his regret is that some Nigerians have failed to appreciate the efforts of the government but keep celebrating negative developments.
“My regret in this government is that Nigerians have failed to appreciate that the government is doing much more with much less.
“2010 to 2014 crude oil was selling from 100 dollars to 140 dollars per barrel, but the highest we have sold since we came in is 60 dollars.
“Sometimes at the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, we were even paying for storage because nobody wanted to take our crude.
“With the drop in revenues and security challenges this government has not retrenched one person but put in place programmes to cushion the effects of the pandemic,’’ he said.
The minister said Nigerians are not giving credit to various intervention programmes of government such as the School Feeding Programme, with no fewer than 12.8 million pupils getting one free meal a day to develop their mental capacity.
He said over one million Nigerians had benefitted from the Conditional Cash Transfer programme carried out in conjunction with the World Bank under which N5,000 is disbursed monthly to vulnerable Nigerians.
Mohammed also said the N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund initiated by the government had provided job opportunities for the youths.
The minister also listed the MSMEs Survival Fund aimed at giving the enterprises grants to enable them to meet their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs from the shocks of COVID-19.
“This includes the payroll support for businesses in health, education, hospitality and food production sectors targeting 500,000 beneficiaries.
” The One-Off payment to support self-employed individuals like mechanics and drivers, hairdressers, Keke Napep and Okada riders, plumbers and electricians with a one-time payment of N30,000 for 333,000 beneficiaries.
“Formalisation support where Federal Government will register 250,000 new businesses with the Corporate Affairs Commission at no cost to MSMEs.
“General MSMEs grants which provide N50,000 to an additional 100,000 MSMEs as well as Guaranteed Offtake Stimulus Scheme which aimed to stimulate direct local production in the 36 states and the FCT,’’ he said
Mohammed said other initiatives targeted at the youths included N-POWER which had engaged 500,000 beneficiaries with 400,000 added from December.
He further said 10,000 youths had been trained and benefitted under the N-TECH and N-AGRO initiatives while over two million farmers and traders were empowered under the FARMERMONI, TRADERMONI and MARKETMONI.