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Buhari warns ministers not to abandon governance for electioneering

President Muhammadu Buhari has warned Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, and Heads of Government Agencies not to abandon the business of governance for electioneering, cautioning that any infraction will be viewed seriously.

The President gave the warning at the closing ceremony of this year’s Ministerial Performance Review Retreat, preceded by his signing of Executive Order 12 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 the 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.

”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 3 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 charged Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, and Heads of Government Agencies to double their efforts and work in synergy towards total delivery of the administration’s set targets.

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 had provided substantial support and assistance to vulnerable citizens through various programmes.

He 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 of 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 the administration.

On industry, trade and investment, the President directed the Ministry to engage relevant stakeholders to secure privatization of the 6 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 re-organization of the new agencies unbundled from the defunct Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation in line with their mandates.

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

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.”

President Buhari, who described the two-day retreat as time well-spent, said it had provided an opportunity for ‘‘reflection and lesson-learning, aimed at reviewing progress and agreeing on key actions that would 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.

President Buhari thanked the Keynote speaker at the Retreat and former President of Kenya, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, 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 SGF and his team for successfully organizing 4 Retreats in the life of the administration, the President acknowledged the support of the technical partners and resource persons for adding immense value to the process.

Writing by Abdullah Bello; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu