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Buhari bars ministers from direct contact with him

...Asks Ministers to pass through SGF, Chief of Staff

As Ministers prepare to take over offices, President Muhammmadu Buhari on Tuesday barred them from direct contacts with him. Rather, he opened two channels of communications, one through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF and the other, through the Chief of Staff to the President.

Buhari, speaking at the end of the two day retreat for the Ministers at the Banquet hall of the Presidential Villa, on Tuesday, said the Ministers must learn to collaborate with other political appointees, if they must succeed in their given assignment.

He stated that they “will find working collaboratively and purposefully will enable us to achieve quicker results, recognizing that four years is not a very long time.

“For the new Ministers, make sure you engage and benefit from the experience of the older Ministers and former Governors in the cabinet.

“In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channeled through the Chief of Staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation”

Recall that similar directives during his first tenure had frustrated many Ministers who had wanted to make one on one contact with the President to share ideas and issues of national importance.

Some of the memos never got to the President forcing some Ministers to leak such memos to get his attention.

The President while declaring that “Public service is not easy work, and at times it can be thankless”, however charged the Ministers “to see this opportunity to serve as an honour, to give your best to deliver on this mandate, for a more prosperous Nigeria, not for some, but for all Nigerians”

Secretary to the government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, in his earlier closing remarks, stated that the retreat had afforded an opportunity at prioritizing the key strategic initiatives required to drive accelerated economic growth, as well as the critical enablers required for seamless execution.

He urged them to uphold values which the nation stands for – “hard work, honor, integrity, ingenuity, and the relentless belief that in Nigeria all things are possible and that together we can accomplish extraordinary things.”

Some of the high point include how to Consolidate and accelerate on the agricultural agenda to achieve full food sufficiency Increase revenue, implement measures to reduce leakages and drive cost optimization, Ensure effective coordination between monetary and fiscal policy .

Others include Invest in human capital development with strong focus on early education and health insurance Facilitate investment in oil and gas sector by ensuring speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill and Deep Offshore Oil and Exploration & Production Bill Resolve the liquidity challenge in power sector and facilitate private sector investment.

He also emphasized the need to work effectively with all other arms of government such as state government, national assembly etc. for major high impact initiatives such as provision of large scale land for agriculture and food security, passage of critical legislations.

“The work we have done here has been critical to laying the foundation for what we will accomplish in this administration. But this work alone is not why we are here. Now it is time to turn our words into actions – to take everything that we have learned, all the strategies and approaches that we have discussed, and go execute our priorities. This work begins now. The people of Nigeria are looking to this administration for results – and they expect them quickly.”

He assured that Federal Government is committed to delivering on and implementing all agreed initiatives within the stipulated timelines. To ensure effective implementation, the initiatives will be cascaded to the relevant ministries, whose ministers will champion the responsibility for driving implementation and execution.

He charged the Ministers to ensure they work to achieve the Key Performance Indicators KPIs to aid in the implementation of the agreed initiatives, the outcomes from this two-day session will be documented and shared with all the ministers. This will serve as a guide on the key initiatives and action steps required.

“ The monitoring and evaluation framework will also be instituted to track the performance of each ministry against its cascaded strategic initiatives based on the outcome of this retreat. This is an integral measure to ensure we deliver on our agreed objectives.

Mustapha who reminded the Ministers that they will face “challenges -both those we anticipate and those that we do not,”urged them not to be discouraged

“Do not let these challenges discourage you-let them serve as motivation to work even harder, to think more creatively, and to come up with new solutions. And remember that you have an entire team to help you, including myself, and remember to escalate issues as appropriate to ensure we can resolve roadblocks in a timely and systematic manner”


Tony Ailemen, Abuja

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