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Buhari’s 2018 Democracy Day speech: 7 main claims under scrutiny

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Buhari’s 2018 Democracy Day speech: 7 main claims under scrutiny

30th May 2018

By: Africa Check

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President Muhammadu Buhari gave his second Democracy Day speech on 29 May 2018 to commemorate Nigeria’s return to civil rule in 1999.

Buhari outlined some of his government’s achievements during the past three years it has been in power, especially regarding the economy.

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“The commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day is a celebration of freedom, a salute to the resilience and determination of Nigerians and a recommitment by government to keep its promise to lead Nigeria into a new era of justice and prosperity,” the president said in a national broadcast.

Here are the first of seven key claims we are fact-checking in Buhari’s speech. We will add to the report as we complete the claims.

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Claim: “For the first time, 30% of the budget was earmarked for capital expenditure”

Verdict: incorrect

In June 2017, Africa Check found a similar claim incorrect. In at least three years since 2008, the allocation to public projects on roads, power, railways and so forth exceeded 30%.

This was in 2008, 2010 and 2013, according to budgetary data. The infrastructure share during this time was the highest in 2008, at 37% of the total budget.

The lowest allocation in that period was 11% of the budget in 2015, which was approved by Buhari’s predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan.

Experts said that the use of these funds should be the main focus, as only a small proportion of the budgeted cash actually reaches the intended agencies.

Claim: “The inflationary rate has consistently declined every month since January 2017″

Verdict: correct

In January 2017 inflation stood at 18.72%, according to data from the Central Bank of Nigeria. This was the highest it has been during Buhari’s term, which began in May 2015. At the time, inflation was recorded at 9%.

In the 16 months prior to the new government the rate was between 7.7% and 8.7%.

In February 2017, the rate fell to 17.78%. It has kept its downward trend since, reaching 15.13% in January 2018 and 13.34% in March 2018.

Claim: “The country achieved 5,222.3 MW representing the highest peak of power generated onto the national grid and delivered to customers in December 2017”

Verdict: incorrect

Buhari said this showed government’s progress in increasing the quantity and quality of power available to Nigerians.

“Nigerians from all parts of the country continue to report better power supply and less use of generators,” he said. The country’s long-standing electricity deficit is persistently blamed for hurting economic growth.

But power generation has in recent years remained approximately 4,000 MW, not significantly different from 2015.  

We found no evidence that Nigeria recorded a power peak of above 5,000 MW in the December 2017. A February 2018 report by the National Bureau of Statistics and the National Electricity Regulatory Commission shows that the highest power generated in December 2017 was 105, 152 MWh/h (4,381 MW), on 8 December.

Nigeria’s highest generation ever took place on 25 August 2015 with 4,811 MWh/h produced.

(Note: Quoting internal data, Nigeria’s vice president reportedly said the country hit a generation peak of 5,156 MW in December 2017. We have not been able to verify this. For more information on Nigeria’s power, read our detailed factsheet.)

Researched by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website.

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