20171024

PMB to GEJ: You were paying N13tr subsidy... we're providing fuel without any subsidy

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday hit back at former President Goodluck Jonathan, saying all his achievements are neither lies nor propaganda.

Buhari reminded Jonathan that unlike during his regime, when between N800bn and N1.3tr was paid out yearly as “petrol subsidy” without making fuel available even at regulated prices, he had not been paying any subsidy, yet fuel is available and queues disappeared from filling stations.

Speaking at Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) Conference for media handlers of state’s chief executives, the President, represented by Minister of Information Lai Mohammed, said:

“Those who accused this Administration of ‘propaganda and lies’ in the fuel supply sector, for example, did not tell Nigerians that whereas they paid between 800 billion and 1.3 trillion Naira as ‘subsidy’ yearly in their time, without making the products available even at regulated prices, this Administration is not paying any subsidy, yet all products are currently available at competitive prices and fuel queues are now history.

“In their time, they paid subsidy of N3.7bn DAILY in 2011; N2.2bn DAILY in 2012 and 2013, and N2.5bn Naira DAILY in 2014, all for products that were never available.”

Describing disinformation and fake news, as ”evil twins” in the public space, the president said that they have become potent weapons in the hands of opposition, expressing worry that they will be the biggest obstacle as the 2019 general elections.

He said, “Let me be straight: This is the most difficult time for anyone to find himself or herself in your position. Why? Because in addition to working with a tight budget, you face the double tragedy of disinformation and fake news, buoyed to a large extent by the advent of Social Media. Never before have these ”evil twins” of disinformation and fake news permeated the public space as they have now and, make no mistakes about it, they have become potent weapons in the hands of naysayers. Sadly, they will be the biggest obstacle facing you from now till the 2019 general elections, whether you believe it or not.

“In recent days, you have all seen the dangers posed, not just to you but even the general public, by those who have chosen to deploy disinformation and fake news as a weapon of choice. First, they created unnecessary panic in the society by claiming that Monkey Pox resulted from the Federal Government’s deliberate injection of people with the virus in certain states. We had hardly dispelled that when they claimed that the military, which is going beyond the call of duty to support the civilian populace, has been injecting school children with Monkey Pox, forcing many parents across a number of states to withdraw their children from school for days. Imagine the implication of this on the affected children’s education and health.

“Now, the disinformation is that ahead of the forthcoming election in Anambra, the government has been providing IPOB uniform to some people to cause mayhem, so they can in turn blame IPOB, and that many roads leading to Anambra will be closed before and after the elections, hence they advised Anambra residents to stay at home and not come out for the election. This is all disinformation, pure and simple. There is no such plan.

“Now, going hand in hand with disinformation and fake news is the new strategy of the naysayers to label the achievements of the government of the day as ‘propaganda and lies’ in order to discredit them. It is for you, at your level, to use concrete facts to showcase the achievements of your principals. Nigerians are brilliant and discerning, and won’t be taken in by such deliberate denigration. But they also need facts and figures.

“For our Administration, our achievements are there for all to see. We are delivering in the broad areas that formed the plank of our policies: Security, fight against corruption and the economy, which includes the massive provision of infrastructure, ease of doing business and agriculture, just to mention a few.”

He added: ”Those who accused this government of ‘propaganda and lies’ also said we have not achieved anything in the power sector. Comment is free, facts are sacred, as they say. When this Administration assumed office on 29 May 2015, available power on the grid totalled 2,690MW, transmission capacity was around 5,000MW and distribution capacity was 4,000MW.

”As at 4 September 2017, the available power that can be put on the grid was 6,619MW; the transmission capacity was simulated at 6,700 MW (up from 5,000 MW in 2015) but the distribution capacity was 4,600 MW, which was what was put on the grid. On September 12, 2017, production of power reached an all-time level of 7,001MW.”

President Buhari said it is an irony that those who presided over a budget of 18 billion Naira for roads, 5 billion Naira for power and 1.8 billion Naira for Housing in 2015 are now accusing those who spent 198.25 billion Naira on roads, 91.2 billion Naira on power and 71.559 billion Naira on housing in the following year of non-achievement?

Recalled that Jonathan had alleged that the government had been running on lies and propaganda.

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