President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said that the country’s external reserves increased from $33.42bn in April to $36bn in May.
Buhari stated this during his 2020 Democracy Day Speech on Friday while noting that this year’s Democracy Day celebration marks 21 years of uninterrupted civil administration in Nigeria.
He however regretted coronavirus-associated deaths in the country in the last three months, saying, “It is indeed a very difficult time for everyone especially those who have lost loved ones to the virus and those whose sources of livelihood have been severely constrained by the stringent measures we introduced at every level of government to contain the virus and save lives.”
Buhari listed some of the achievements of his regime saying, “We have witnessed eleven quarters of consecutive GDP growth since exiting recession. The GDP grew from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019 but declined to 1.87% in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the decline in global economic activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Every single economy in the world has suffered a decline. Ours has been relatively moderate.
“In order to stabilize the economy, the Monetary Authority took steps to build the external reserves which resulted in improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market.
“The external reserves grew from $33.42 billion on April 29th 2020 to about $36.00 billion in May, 2020 which is enough to finance seven months of import commitments.
Agriculture remains the key to our economic diversification strategy. The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative programme continues to deliver significant quantities of affordable and high-quality fertilizers to our farmers. This initiative has also revived 31 blending plants and created a significant number of direct and indirect jobs across the value chain.
Through the food security initiative, we are promoting “Grow What We Eat” and “Eat What We Grow”. I am also delighted that more and more Nigerians are taking advantage of the opportunities in the agriculture and agri-business sector. I assure you that government will continue to support the Agriculture sector through the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme and similar schemes.
“Our efforts on growing non-oil exports have started to yield some results. For instance, in the past year, our revenue from Cocoa and Sesame Seed increased by $79.4 million and $153 million.”