Nigeria: Avoid Waste, Conserve Resources, Buhari Tells Ministers-Designate
By Jonathan Nda-Isaiah
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the 36 ministers-designate to ensure reduction in government expenditures by avoiding waste and conserving resources.
Buhari stated this in Abuja yesterday during a two-day presidential retreat with the ministers-designate at the Conference Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja
Buhari also tasked the ministers-designate to uphold the high standard of probity and integrity that Nigerians eagerly expected of them.
He further told them to route all their official communications and appointments to the Presidency through the office of the Chief of Staff, ostensibly to reduce unnecessary contacts and a situation whereby some ministers will burst into his office without due clearance.
He said, “You are coming on board of the ship of governance at an interesting time. So much has been said about the state of our economy. It is expected that we make the running of government at all levels as lean as possible, avoid waste and conserve resources. As ministers, you must be the vehicle that will administer the change.
“You must keep in touch with your fellow ministers and share information, so that the conduct of government will be more efficient. In addition, all communication and appointments from you to the Presidency should be routed through the Office of the Chief of Staff as is normal in this presidential system.”
According to the president, his administration’s economic focus will be policies that will ensure inclusive growth, saying that “we will count our achievements based on the number of Nigerians we move out of poverty.”
He added that the ministers-designate and indeed all elective officials must count themselves privileged to have been chosen among millions of Nigerians at this time to be the instruments that would deliver the change his administration had promised.
He said, “The work of restoration and renewal is urgent and immense. The expectations of Nigerians are high. Our determination to succeed and change the fortunes of our country must be equal to the challenge.
“I have invited you to join me in this urgent mission for our country. I am convinced that in accepting this invitation you are also determined to take part in this patriotic undertaking”.
The president also stated that the main task of the ministers-designate was to turn the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) manifesto promises to practice and results, saying that they should equally live up to the high standard off probity and integrity expected of them.
He said: “Over the next two days I expect you to have a better understanding of the context in which we have taken the challenge of serving our country, as well as the strategies we have adopted to tackle them. I would also expect you to be even more determined to work as a team, and to live up to the high standards of probity and integrity which Nigerians expect of us.”
Buhari said discussions at the retreat would emphasise the need to oberve the rule of law so as to ensure that impunity was removed from government conduct.
The retreat, which will be rounded off today, is to fully acquaint the ministers-designate with the direction and priorities of the APC- controlled government so that they can all move together as a team.
PMB Receives Briefing On Nigeria’s Continental Shelf Project
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has received briefing on the progress and challenges of the Nigeria’s Continental Shelf Extension Project before the United Nations Commission on the Limits of Continental Shelf.
The Director-General of the National Boundary Commission, Dr Muhammed Ahmad, who briefed the president in the presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday on the project, said the commission was working hard to ensure its success.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the briefing session, Ahmad said the continental shelf project was meant to gain for Nigeria additional maritime territory of 104,000 kilometres.
He said, “The Nigeria’s Extended Continental Shelf Project is a project that intends to gain for Nigeria a additional maritime territory of up to 104,000 kilometres, which is about one third of the land area of the Federal Republic. We explained to him ( President Buhari) the progress of the project and its challenges.
Ahmad stated that the shelf’s extension would enable Nigeria to explore and exploit its seabed resources to enhance the country’s economy and facilitate peace and security in the Gulf of Guinea.
According to him, the project will promote Nigeria’s economic development and also enable the country to operate both economically and militarily beyond the 200 nautical miles up to 350 nautical miles into the sea.
On the boundary disputes between Nigeria and its neighbouring countries, Ahmad said the bordering problems between Nigeria and Cameroun, Chad, Niger Republic and Benin were being resolved amicably.