Buhari to ministers: Don’t abandon governance for electioneering

Ezekiel Johnson
Ezekiel Johnson
Buhari to ministers: Don’t abandon governance for electioneering
Buhari at the retreat

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja warned Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Government Agencies not to abandon the business of governance for electioneering, saying ”any infraction will be viewed seriously.”

The president issued the directive at the closing ceremony of the 2022 Ministerial Performance Review Retreat, preceded by his signing of Executive Order 012 on Improving Performance Management, Coordination and Implementation of Presidential Priorities.

The president told participants at the retreat that with the commencement of campaigns towards the 2023 general elections, the business of governance must continue to receive the needed attention during this period.

”Consequently, all Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Agencies must remain focused in the discharge of their duties, as any infraction will be viewed seriously.

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”Our collective goal is to map out a transition plan for the incoming Administration to ensure proper documentation of all the Policies, Programmes and Projects of Government with up-to-date status of implementation,” he said.

President Buhari noted that the lessons learned in the last three years of implementing the administration’s policies, programmes and projects would serve as the needed tool to propel every Ministry to remain committed, towards the achievement of developmental objectives.

He, therefore, charged all ministers, permanent secretaries and heads of government agencies to step-up, double their efforts and work in synergy toward total delivery of the Administration’s set targets.

On Executive Order 12, the president explained that it would institutionalise a culture of accountability and transparency in the pursuit of good governance.

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President Buhari also directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, to continue with the quarterly review process and assessment of ministries for the third and fourth Quarters of 2022, saying the reports would form part of transition documents of his administration to the incoming government.

To achieve this objective, the president ordered all ministers and Permanent Secretaries to ensure that the performance reports of their ministries were submitted on a quarterly basis to the Office of the SGF for review by the Central Delivery Coordination Unit.

”The outcome of these reviews would be made available for my consideration,” the president said.

The president also declared that following discussion and recommendations, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had been directed to engage with relevant stakeholders to ensure the completion of all large-scale integrated Rice Processing Mills before the end of this Administration.

”This will help our country to maintain sufficiency in the local production of rice as the ban on the importation of foreign rice will be sustained, ” he said.

On electricity, President Buhari directed that all hands must be on deck to ensure timely realisation of the increase in electricity generation to 25,000 Megawatts in six years.

He recounted that the plan on electricity generation, through the partnership between the Federal Government of Nigeria and German Siemens AG, is on course as the first batch of the transformers has arrived Nigeria already.

Considering the huge investment made in the rail sector, the president directed the Ministry of Transportation and relevant security agencies to ensure the provision of maximum security along the railway corridors.

”We must ensure the safety of our rail users and strive to achieve the intended economic goals. We must at the same time ensure realizable schedules and first-class maintenance.

”Following the milestones recorded in the road sector, coupled with the innovative ways of funding road infrastructure, the Ministry of Works and Housing has been directed to compile a list of all completed roads, bridges and other infrastructure for commissioning before the end of this Administration, ” he said.

Furthermore, the president directed that the Federal Government’s investment in the reconstruction of 21 selected on-going federal roads totaling 1,804.6km, under the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Policy must be closely monitored and tracked to ensure the roads are completed on schedule.

”In line with the outcome of the Panel session on Priority 4 (Improve Transportation and Other Infrastructure), the Ministry of Aviation is hereby directed to conclude and ensure the take-off of the National Carrier Project before the end of the year.’’

In order to expand the fiscal space and improve the nation’s revenue generation efforts, President Buhari directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to ensure effective implementation of the Strategic Revenue and Growth Initiative.

”In the same vein, we must also build synergy between the fiscal and monetary authorities in order to avoid unnecessary drawbacks in our economic planning and performance, ” he said.

On the implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, the president directed that a monitoring and evaluation framework be put in place by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with relevant agencies and partners to track the disbursement and utilization of the fund.

On humanitarian issues, the president noted that in the three years of existence of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, the ministry has provided substantial support and assistance to vulnerable citizens through various programmes.

He, therefore, directed the minister to facilitate and work with the Attorney General of the Federation in transmitting the Federal Executive Council’s approved National Social Investment Programme Establishment Bill (2022) to the National Assembly.

This, he said, would ensure the sustainability of this important programme which leaves a lasting legacy for the vulnerable Nigerians by this Administration.

On industry, trade and investment, the president directed the ministry to engage relevant stakeholders to secure privatization of the six Special Economic Zones as approved by the Bureau of Public Enterprise.

To complement the current efforts in the Oil and Gas Sector, the president announced that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources had been mandated to ensure the completion of the reorganisation of the new agencies unbundled from the defunct Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation in line with their mandates.

”This should be completed by the end of the 1st Quarter of 2023, ” he said.

President Buhari also used the occasion to appeal to the National Assembly to fast-track the consideration and passage of key legislative bills as agreed during the panel session at the retreat.

According to him ”this will serve as our collective legacy towards entrenching key reforms that will serve as a springboard for the next Administration.”

Buhari, who described the two-day retreat as time well-spent, said it has provided an opportunity for ‘‘reflection and lesson learning aimed at reviewing progress and agreeing on key actions that will ensure we finish well by the end of our Administration come May 29th, 2023.’’

”We have used the opportunity provided by this Retreat to carry out an objective assessment of our commitments in line with the contract we signed with the Nigerian people at the inception of this administration in 2019.

”I am glad to note that we have sustained this yearly stock-taking innovative initiatives introduced in 2019 by holding three consecutive Performance Review Retreats in 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively.  This has helped us to clearly identify what we have done, what needs to be done and how best to get it done.

”From the assessment report and discussions at this Retreat, it is evident that we have made appreciable progress through collective efforts in setting the Nation on the path of sustainable development while improving the well-being of our people.

”Notwithstanding these achievements, there are still unfinished businesses that we must speedily complete to ensure we finish well. We must, therefore, endeavour to close every gap in our implementation efforts to ensure the attainment of set targets by 2023, ” he said.

The Nigerian leader thanked former President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, the Keynote speaker at the Retreat, for sharing his wealth of experience during his tenure in Office.

He wished the former president a productive retirement and expressed the hope that he would continue to serve his people and the African continent in every way possible.

He further thanked the Kenyan delegation led by the former president for their support and contributions during the retreat.

Commending the efforts of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and his team for successfully organising four retreats in the life of this administration, the president acknowledged the support of the technical partners and resource persons for adding immense value to the process.

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