By Adedapo Adesanya
In what would be his last Independence Day address, President Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday, defended his government’s borrowing policy, describing it as a necessary step to provide the infrastructure that would expand opportunities for the growth of the Nigerian economy.
Mr Buhari stated in the address to the country on October 1, 2022, that, “The federal government is already expanding port operations to ensure that they provide opportunities for the growth of the Nigerian economy.
“We have also continued to accelerate our infrastructure development through serviceable and transparent borrowing, improved capital inflow & increased revenue generation by expanding the tax bases and prudent management of investment proceeds in the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
“To further open up our communities to economic activities, we have continued to boost our railway infrastructure with the completion of a good number of critical railways and at the same time rehabilitating as well as upgrading obsolete equipment.”
The President also noted that no village in the country was left behind in the regime’s Social Investment Programmes such as N-Power, trader-moni, market moni, etc.
“I am pleased to inform my fellow citizens that besides our emphasis on infrastructural development with its attendant opportunities for job creation, employment generation and subsequent poverty reduction, our focused intervention directly to Nigerians through the National Social Investment Programme is also yielding benefits.
“There is hardly any ward, village or local government in Nigeria today that has not benefited from one of the following: N-Power, trader-moni, market moni, subsidized loans, business grants or Conditional Cash Transfers.
“All the programmes mentioned above along with various interventions by the National Social Investment Programme, direct support to victims of flooding and other forms of disasters have provided succour to the affected Nigerians,” Mr Buhari said.
He also promised Nigerians that he would ensure free and fair elections come 2023 and called for more youth and women participation in the electoral cycle.
He said, “Having witnessed at close quarters the pains, anguish and disappointment of being a victim of an unfair electoral process, the pursuit of an electoral system and processes that guarantee the election of leaders by citizens remains the guiding light as I prepare to wind down our administration.
“You would all agree that the recent elections in the past two years in some states, notably Anambra, Ekiti and Osun and a few federal constituencies, have shown a high degree of credibility, transparency and freedom of choice with the people’s votes actually counting. This I promise would be improved upon as we move towards the 2023 general elections,” he said.