FG says Atiku’s economic blueprint is a poor copy of Buhari’s policy

The Nigerian government has accused Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party of plagiarising the economic agenda of the present administration in the Atiku Economic Blueprint.

This was disclosed by Nigeria’s information minister, Lai Mohammed, during a press conference at the National Press Centre, Abuja on Thursday, according to NAN.

He also faulted Atiku’s plans on infrastructure development, stating that the present administration has already launched the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), Sukuk and the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme (RITCS).

What they are saying

Mohammed stated that Atiku’s economic policy is a “crude attempt at copying all that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has done’’.

He added that the blueprint unveiled by Atiku did not offer anything new in job creation, infrastructure financing and relationship with the private sector, citing poorly copied policy promises in the power sector, poverty reduction, debt management and the overall management of the economy.

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“It is shocking that an opposition that has condemned all that this administration has done will turn around to weave its so-called economic blueprint around the same things that are currently being done.

“This news conference is aimed at exposing the hypocrisy in an opposition that condemns an administration while showcasing a blueprint that is nothing, but a poor version of what’s on ground,” Mohammed said.

He also claimed that Atiku’s plans on reducing the infrastructure deficit to enhance the economy and unleash growth and wealth creation is not novel. Mohammed stated that no one understands this better than this sitting administration.

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“Even our worst critics will agree that our record on infrastructure development is next to none in the history of this country.

“Across the country, we have constructed 8,352.94 kilometres of roads, rehabilitated 7,936.05 kilometres of roads, constructed 299 bridges, maintained 312 bridges and created 302,039 jobs in the process.

“We have also delivered houses in 34 states of the federation under the first phase of the National Housing Project.

“We were able to achieve these through a combination of budget increase and innovative infrastructure financing methods,’’ the minister stressed.

On Infrastructure financing, FG also faulted Atiku’s agenda to ‘break the jinx’ in infrastructure financing.

Mohammed said, “We state unequivocally, that the worst jinx in infrastructure financing was the PDP administration from 1999 to 2015.

“Indeed, the Buhari administration has long broken that jinx, leveraging on such innovative schemes as the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), Sukuk and the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme (RITCS).”

He added that when Buhari got into office in 2015, the budget for the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing increased exponentially to N260.082 billion in 2016.

The budget also increased to N274.252 billion in 2017; to N356.773 billion in 2018; to N223.255 billion in 2019; to N227.963 billion in 2020 and to N241.864 billion in 2021, he added.

“Therefore, for anyone using this as a campaign stunt without acknowledging what we have done so far is cheap and disingenuous,” he said.

He said the RITCS was used for the construction and rehabilitation of Lokoja-Obajana-Kabba-Ilorin road, reconstruction of Apapa Wharf Road, construction of Apapa-Oworonsoki-Ojota road and the Bonny-Bodo Road (with bridge).

Mohammed said that the NNPC-funded part of the RITCS  was also delivering nine roads in North-Central, three in North-East, two in North-West, two in South-East, three in South-South and two in South-West for a total of 1,804 kilometres of roads.

He said the Buhari administration’s “warm handshake’’ with the private sector had delivered and was delivering an unprecedented number of projects.

The projects, according to the minister, included, the 650,000bpd Dangote Refinery, Dangote Fertilizer plant, Lekki Deep Sea Port, BUA Cement, the 5,000bpd Waltersmith Modular Refinery in Imo State and the 2,500bpd Duport Modular Refinery/Energy Park in Edo.

What you should know

  • While reacting to power blackout in Nigeria in July, the former vice president stated that his administration will launch a $20 billion consortium of private sector institutions to establish an Infrastructure Debt Fund (IDF) to primarily mobilise domestic and international private resources for the financing and delivery of large infrastructure projects
  • Atiku also proposed, that within the first 100 days in office, he will unveil an Economic Stimulus Fund with an initial investment capacity of approximately US$10 billion, to support private sector investments in infrastructure and to prioritize support to agriculture, manufacturing and the MSMEs