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Sunday, 16 December 2018

Half Truths And False Claims Made By Vice President Osinbajo During Debate

Claim 1: Nigeria produces 90 per cent of rice consumed


Verdict: Not proven. A PREMIUM TIMES’ fact-check showed in June that although the government has recorded improvements in the local production of rice, its flagship programme is still dogged by a number of setbacks.


According to official Nigeria figures, rice importation from Thailand dropped from 1.23 million metric tonnes in 2014 to 23,192mt as at November 2017. However, rice importation by neighbouring Benin from Thailand recorded an increase from 805,765 metric tonnes in 2015 to 1.6 metric tonnes as of November 2017, according to the Thai Rice Export Association website. Most of the importation into Benin are believed to have been smuggled into Nigeria through the country’s porous land borders.


Claim 2: Government has made efforts to develop Small and Medium Scale Businesses


Verdict: Largely true. The government, for instance, has designed a lower tax rate of 20 per cent applicable to small companies in manufacturing, agriculture and mining within their first five years of business. In April, the federal government also initiated a Start-up programme designed to build entrepreneurial spirit in youths and prepare them toward self-sustaining. The Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture also have different programmes lined up for enterprising youth who wish to create jobs and need capital. Many Nigerian youth have however complained of how difficult it is to access many of these initiatives.


Claim 3: Previous governments of the PDP “practically” abandoned Lagos-Ibadan expressway project


Verdict: False. Although a recent report by PREMIUM TIMES showed how the present government is battling with the road amidst poor funding, PREMIUM TIMES can confirm that previous governments made efforts to rehabilitate the road like the present government is also doing.
In 2013, the Jonathan government flagged up the reconstruction of the highway. The N167 billion project was contracted to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and Reynolds Construction Company Limited for repairs on Section 1 (Lagos-Sagamu Interchange) and section II (Sagamu Interchange-Ibadan) respectively. Although it was expected to be completed within 48 months, more than 5 years after, (and three years since this government came into power) the road has not been completed.


Claim 4: A bag of fertiliser now sells for N6,000 to N7,000.


Verdict: True. Aside a telephone interview conducted with a farmer Saturday night, PREMIUM TIMES’ checks on Agro Market, an online market for agricultural products, showed that the average price of fertilizer ranged between N6,000 and N7,000.
This was against the higher price of about N10,000 it was sold in the past. The government has deliberately made efforts to reduce market prices.


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