Thursday, May 30, 2013

Jonathan to critics - ''Develop your marking scheme and mark us''

President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday challenged observers and critics of the administration to develop a marking scheme to appropriately grade the performance of his administration. At the same time the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the Minister of National Planning, Shamsudeen Usman, highlighted the performance of the Jonathan administration.

The president said this at the presentation of his midterm scorecard to Nigerians and the global community.

Mr. Jonathan said his two years performance should be compared with those of previous Nigerian leaders and other African leaders.

He challenged those criticising the performance of some Nigerian ministries under his administration to develop a marking scheme, saying for you to mark a student’s script, you must have a marking scheme.

“Develop your marking scheme and mark us,”
 the president said.

Earlier, before the president’s speech, government officials including the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the Minister of National Planning, Shamsudeen Usman, highlighted the performance of the Jonathan administration.

It’s all success

While highlighting the achievements, Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said the administration has succeeded in several fronts.

In order to reduce corruption in the petrol subsidy payments, the minister said, the number of petrol importers had been reduced from 143 to 32, while several billions of naira had been recovered from marketers indicted in the probe of the subsidy sector and other fraudulent importers being prosecuted.

The minister said Nigeria has reduced its dependence on crude oil as its only major export. She said crude oil export now accounts for only 70 per cent of Nigeria’s exports with the rest being agricultural produce, manufactured goods, and so on.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, while highlighting the economic growth said the exchange rate has remained stable under President Jonathan at between N155-N160 per dollar. She said Nigeria’s external reserves are rising, and inflation has reduced. She said Nigeria’s borrowing has also decreased yearly since 2011.

Other achievements of the administration, according to the Finance Minister, include construction of about 61,800 housing units across Nigeria by the Housing Ministry; an improvement in local cement production to about 28 million metric tonnes, more than local need; and the construction of 13 new rice mills across Nigeria.

She also highlighted the improvement in the rail sector, saying rail users had increased by over 3 million people in the last two years, while more rail gauges, coaches, and routes are being worked and improved upon.

Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said the Federal Government also paved 651km of roads across Nigeria in 2012.

The event was organised by top government functionaries including the Senate President, David Mark; three former heads of state: Yakubu Gowon, Shehu Shagari, and Ernest Shonekan; the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha; and the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mariam Mukhtar.
Source: Premium Times

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