President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday identified failure to appropriately manage the country’s numerous resources, corruption, lack of patriotism among others as reasons why the economy went into recession in 2016, first in 30 years.
Speaking while declaring open 22nd annual conference of Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) in Abuja with the theme “Sustainable Economic Management in a Recession: Issues, Strategies and Options, Buhari expressed belief “that if our numerous resources were appropriately managed; corruption duly checked; patriotism deeply imbibed in everything we do; the spirit of rule of law was observed; and the citizen’s political freedom was ensured, Nigeria could not have been in recession.”
Reminding the audience that as accountants they could be described as the first set of gatekeepers to ensure that all transactions are conducted prudently, Buhari who was represented by Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) Idris Ahmed said over the past decades, Nigeria witnessed period of boom and prosperity but which were not harnessed for collective economic development.
He opined that the roles of the accountants cannot be over-emphasized in his administration’s bid to fulfill its promises majoring on diversifying the economic base of Nigeria, confronting the security challenges and dealing decisively with corruption in all aspects of government businesses.
“You will recall when Nigeria was producing an average of 2.1 million barrels of crude oil per day selling at an average of $100 per barrel which today is not the case. By 2016, Nigeria was in real recession for the first time in about three decades.
“My Administration has practically done much in delivering on its core focus of diversifying the economy”, by empowering 200,000 smallholder farmers to cultivate some 233,000 hectares of farmland, in 29 states through Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.
In addition, the President said his government revolutionized rice production to allow for national self-sustenance and have impacted on fertilizer availability which eventually led to a sharp drop in the fertilizer price from N13,000 to N5,500 per 50Kg bag.
“Interestingly, power generation has peaked to an all-time high of 7,001 megawatts in the third quarter of 2017, while aiming at 10,000 Megawatts by year 2020.
“Furthermore, the strength of our naira against the US dollar is a story of building confidence on the entire economy; from N525 to a dollar in February this year to N360 today.
“In a broader effort, the Federal Government decided to support the economy of each federating states by extending Budget Support Facilities (BSF) to the states on the achievement of the twenty-two (22) action points of the Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP).
“Other relevant economic reform initiatives established by the Government include; Home Grown School Feeding Programme, N-Power Job creation to provide loans to small-scale traders and artisans, Conditional Cash Transfer, Family Homes Fund and Social Housing Scheme”, among others.
Speaking earlier in a welcome address, ANAN President and Chairman of Council, Alhaji Shehu Usman Ladan, key national issues like Treasury Single Account; exiting recession; N-Power Programme; Improved revenue profile; anti-corruption war; agric revolution and others will be discussed during the week-long conference.