The depressing economic situation in the country seems to be eating deep by the day as 27 states in the country have been faced with the difficulty of paying the salaries of their staff.
President Muhammadu Buhari said this in his remarks amongst other issues at the second National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja on Thursday.
He said Nigeria’s over-dependence on oil revenues, mismanagement and the looting of the common patrimony were largely responsible for the present state of the economy.
Referring to the unfavourable economic situation in the country, which he assured that his administration was battling to stabilise, Buhari said:
On the economy, the fall of oil prices after Nigeria has made itself a mono economy is a disaster. I wonder why people could not believe that in Nigeria, about 27 out of the 36 states, have difficulties in paying basic salaries of their workers.
If from 1999 to at least 2003, oil was above $100 per barrel and an export of about two million barrels per day, how come Nigeria failed to make some arrangements to cushion the effect of a probably volatile oil market?
To address this challenge, the President said his administration began the implementation of the Treasury Single Account, which had so far saved the nation over N3trillion, an amount, he believed would have been frittered away by corrupt public officials.
The President expressed regret that he did not succeed in ensuring that the elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers states were peaceful describing the politically motivated killings in Rivers State as shameful.
I think that more Nigerians are killed or killed themselves in Rivers than in any particular state. At this stage of our political development, to remain brutal is shameful and as a government, I promise we will do something by the next general elections.
I appeal to the leadership of the military, security agents and INEC that what I want Nigerians to remember me for, even if I leave the Presidency tomorrow, is that I respect them.
I want all Nigerians to believe and hold their PVCs as personal entitlement as Nigerians and use them the way they like, and vote for whoever they like at whichever election.
If they voluntarily sell it, it is part of their right and so, let them sell it and remain at home and not participate in any election.
The President, who also doubles as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, explained the reason behind the ongoing reforms in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
We have tried to make sure that NNPC is reorganised, so that we know how much of our crude is taken, how much it is sold and to which account the money is going.
But I tell you that up to the time we came, if anybody told you that he knew how much of crude exchanged hands either on the high sea or reaching their destinations and the accounts the money was paid into, that person was not telling you the truth.
We are getting the cooperation of countries that have received this crude.
On security, the President gave his administration a pass mark noting that the party took a very courageous decision which the executive implemented by replacing the military hierarchy, acquiring new hardware and software and raising the morale of the military personnel.
I have said it often that as far as I know, and the service chiefs, who are on the ground, they (Boko Haram) are not holding any local government, but they still have some capabilities, especially on soft targets by using technology.
The President added.
On the issue of his foreign trips, Buhari said:
As for globe-trotting, sometimes, you need to present your case on a personal basis to your economic colleagues and neighbours.
Nothing is better than personal touch and I believe that we are learning a lot and eventually, the nation will realise so.