Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan says Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), driven mainly by non-oil sector, has grown by 7.1 per cent, while the economy attracted N6.8 trillion investments in nine months.
Jonathan, who disclosed this in his 52nd Independence Anniversary broadcast on Monday, said that Nigeria recorded this feat in spite of the global financial crisis
"Over the past five years, the global economy has been going through a weak and uncertain recovery. During the same period and particularly in the last two years, the Nigerian economy has done appreciably well in spite of the global financial crisis.
"Nigeria’s real GDP has grown by 7.1 per cent on average.
"It is also significant to state that the GDP growth has been driven largely by the non-oil sector,’’ he said.
According to him, the nation has improved on its investment environment as more corporate bodies are investing in the Nigerian economy.
"Our Investment Climate Reform Programme has helped to attract over N6.8 trillion local and foreign direct investment commitments."
He said that Nigeria had become the preferred destination for investment in Africa.
"It is ranked first in the top five host economies for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Africa, accounting for over 20 per cent of total FDI flows into the continent."
The president said that his administration had streamlined bureaucratic activities at the ports to ensure greater efficiency in the handling of ports and port-related businesses.
"Specifically, we have drastically reduced the goods clearing period in our ports from about six weeks to about one week and under. We have an ultimate target of 48 hours."
He said that in pursuance of the main goals of the transformation agenda, a number of reforms and initiatives were being pursued in key sectors of the economy with a view to consolidating the gains of the economic growth.
He said that the new visa policy had made it easier for legitimate investors to receive long stay visas.
"We have achieved a 24-hour timeline for registration of new businesses leading to the registration of close to 7,000 companies within the second quarter of 2012.
"The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has disclosed that as at July 2012, 249 new members across the country had joined the association, and that capacity utilization has also improved.
"The multiplier effect of this development on our job creation programme cannot be over-emphasised."
On the country’s power supply situation, Jonathan expressed delight that electricity supply nationwide was gradually improving.
"We are successfully implementing a well-integrated power sector reform programme which includes institutional arrangements to facilitate and strengthen private-sector-led power generation, transmission and distribution.
"We have also put in place a cost-reflective tariff structure that reduces the cost of power for a majority of electricity consumers.
"I am pleased with the feedback from across the country, of improvements in power supply."
The president also noted that the country had continued to improve and stabilise its crude production volumes.
He said that the 12-month gas supply emergency plan put in place earlier this year, had produced more than the targeted volume of gas for power generation.
"A robust Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) has been put before the National Assembly.
"Its passage into law will ensure far-reaching reforms, transparency, accountability, increased government revenue and predictability for investors in the Oil and Gas sector," he said.
He said that several government programmes and projects were creating wealth and millions of job opportunities for the youths and general population.
He said that such programmes include "You-Win", both for the youths and for women, public works, the local content initiative in the Oil and Gas Sector, and the agricultural transformation programme.
On the nation’s health sector, Jonathan said that his administration had put in place structures for an upgrade of the country’s health sector to promote individual citizen’s right to quality, affordable and accessible healthcare.
"In this regard, we are devoting resources under the Subsidy Reinvestment Program (SURE-P) to reduce malaria incidents, dramatically reduce maternal and child mortality and eradicate polio."