Femi Adesina, special adviser on media and publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, says Nigerians should be grateful that the current administration is pulling the country out of economic recession after “just one year”.
In an interview with The Sun, Adesina said while Japan has been in recession for 15 years, Venezuela is yet to recover from its economic crisis.
“The CBN has been confident to put a time frame that Nigeria will exit recession; the third quarter of this year. If you remember that Japan has been in recession for 15 years, I think you must give kudos to this administration that it is coming out of a recession after just one year,” he said.
“Check all the prognosis: IMF, World Bank, Bloomberg, Central Bank of Nigeria –everybody –their projection is that, this year Nigeria, will exit recession. Recession is the consequences of actions and inactions.”
Comparing Nigeria to Venezuela, Adesina said: “We should still be thankful that we are not as bad as Venezuela. Venezuela is a mono-economy like Nigeria, and the standard of living in Venezuela was ahead of Nigeria, but today, it is worse than Nigeria.
“There are food queues and all sorts of riots in Venezuela, because the economy collapsed since it was a mono-economy. The same thing happened to Nigeria, but we are still thankful to God.”
When asked the extent to which the president had delivered his campaign promises, the presidential spokesman said a definitive assessment could not be made until the end of the term.
He, however, said judging based on the performance in the last two years, the administration had done well.
“It is only somebody who wants to be very unfair to this administration that will say that war is at the same level it was two years ago,” Adesina said.
“You need to see how nightlife has returned to the cities in the north-east; you need to see roads that have been closed for three-four years now reopened and being used; emirs that ran away from their palaces and Boko Haram took over those palaces are back now.
“Gombe never had NYSC for about two-three years. Today, NYSC orientation is taking place in Gombe. Damboa-Maiduguri Road, among other roads that were closed in the north-east, has been reopened. So, the intensity of that insurgency has reduced considerably.
“What we are seeing now is a final mopping up process. There are people that you call bitter-enders; they fight to the bitter end.
“Anti-corruption is something this government is fighting vigorously and you can see that the amount that has been recovered is enormous.
“You can check the statistics given by the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Information respectively. And those ones didn’t include the latest recoveries.
“In March-April alone, the amount recovered was staggering. So much money has been recovered that, in the 2017 budget that is being considered, a lot of recovered money is involved. In the 2016 budget, the recovered money was also put in the budget.
“When monies are recovered, they are not spent immediately; they are put into a special account and then deployed in the budget the following year. A lot is being done, and many people are in court.”
On the president’s state of health and his absence in the country, Adesina said, “It is only a man who is alive that can administer a country, and nobody is immune to ill health.
“You are not quite right. If anybody hears you now and hear prolonged vacations, he will think it has been happening since. It is only this year that we are talking of prolonged vacation.
“The vacation he took last year was only 10 days. This year, he left in January and returned in March; and he left again in May.
“You can only rule a country when you are healthy. When ill health comes, you have to take care of yourself.”
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