By Chuks Okocha
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday tackled the All Progressives Congress (APC) over its attack following the suggestions by former Vice President and PDP’s candidate in the 2019 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on how to revamp the ailing economy.
The PDP said that while it did not want to be distracted by the APC, it cannot keep quiet and allow those who had reversed all the national gains in a space of five years, to continue to engage in distortions, outright lies and appropriation of projects executed by the PDP to continually spit on the memories of Nigerians.
The PDP in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan said that it is sad that a patriotic and non-partisan rescue effort by Atiku was met with insults, animus and aspersions by an administration under which Nigeria is collapsing economically, just because it lacks the required competence and brilliance for modern governance.
PDP said that APC government , Nigeria has become the poverty capital of the world; the foreign debts have quadrupled from $7 billion in 2015 to $30 billion today; the once highly rated banking sector is now shedding its workforce; the service sector has collapsed, with the health sector now begging Elon Musk for medical supplies on Twitter.
“This is an administration under which our currency is listed as the fourth worst performing currency on earth, and has been devalued 112 per cent from its 2015 value; a government that is now footing its basic bills via foreign borrowings with corruption festering so much that our agencies had literally become Automated Teller Machine (ATM) for its officials and cabals.
“It indeed speaks volumes that the same day that the Times of London carried a headline ‘Nigeria’s President Buhari Appoints Dead Man to Run Government Agency’, was the day the APC had the gall to accuse former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of being a part of an administration that achieved little. It is sad that the APC would take this route”, it said. .
The PDP said that it has gladly accepted the challenge by the APC to list a few of the many achievements of the Obasanjo-Atiku administration.
Accordingly, PDP said, “in doing this, we also counter challenge the APC to name three projects initiated, started, and completed by the Buhari administration in its almost five years of governance.
PDP listed what it achieved to include, the historical debt relief (of about $18 billion, an overall discount of about 60 per cent from $30 billion), which freed Nigeria from the suffocating shackles of huge and reckless external borrowings accumulated in the past.
Others, it said, includes “Reduced our budget deficits by 72 per cent, stabilised the Naira at ₦88 to $1 and left savings at an all-time high of $67.5 billion in the Excess Crude Account and foreign reserves, whereas it inherited a reserve of less than $2 billion.
“Created and implemented the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS) which stabilised the economy and led to the doubling of our GDP within four years from $55.65billion in 2003 to $114.36billion in 2006, as acknowledged by IMF database.
“Improved Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow from less than $700 million per annum in 1999, to $4.3 billion by 2007, which earned Nigeria a BB credit rating by Fitch; grew our financial, communications, commerce, manufacturing as well as agriculture to double-digit growth, with improved business environment; introduced the GSM revolution that saw teledensity in Nigeria increase from 500,000 lines to 60 million lines by May 29, 2007.
“Established our anti-corruption laws and created the EFCC and ICPC, both anti-corruption bodies that Nigeria depends on to fight corruption; introduced the best poverty alleviation Programme via the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP).
“Increased agricultural output to become a commercial exporter of cassava to China in 2003; with our non-oil sector growing by 32 per cent from 1999 figures, leading to strengthening of citizens’ purchasing power and increased revenue from taxes by 42 per cent”, among others.
PDP added that it consolidated the banking sector and ended failed banks syndrome in Nigeria, while it reformed the health sector via the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme and the NHIS Act of 2004 in addition to reinvigorating drug control via NAFDAC under the late Prof. Dora Akinyuli.