I’m reassuring Nigerians to improve quality of lives, says Buhari

By Oluwaseun Sonde

President Muhammad Buhari has reassured Nigerians that his Administration remains resolute in initiating programmes aimed at improving the quality of lives, uplifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next ten years and set Nigeria on the path of prosperity. Giving his closing remarks at the First Year Ministerial Performance Reviews Retreat in State House, Abuja on Tuesday, he commended the Minister’s efforts, commitment and resilience to the cardinal aspiration of his Administration.

According to him, “”Let me reassure all Nigerians that this Administration remains resolute in initiating programmes aimed at improving the quality of lives and uplifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next ten years. The proceedings of the last two days have been designed to ensure the attainment of Ministerial deliverables is on track and to accelerate achievement of the Nine Priority Areas in the face of current challenges.

“I am glad that our policies, programmes and projects have recorded appreciable successes. Our renewed vigor on agriculture has been demonstrated through our Anchor Borrowers Programme and the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative. We have made progress on the railway projects with a view to connecting different parts of the country.

“The Lagos-Ibadan rail line is up and working. The Abuja-Kaduna rail line is efficiently running. Arrangements are being made to complete the Ibadan – Kano, commence the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri line which will connect the Southern and Eastern States to the Northern States. Work is ongoing at the 2nd Niger Bridge and is at 46% completion. We hope to commission the project before the end of our tenure in 2023.

“Several contracts have been awarded to rehabilitate, reconstruct and construct our arterial roads, to reduce the hardship to commuters and increase economic activities across the States. We have flagged off the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Project which is being developed at this critical time in Nigeria’s commitment to increasing our infrastructure assets and promote the use of gas in the domestic market”, he said.

He added that his anticorruption fight requires no emphasis. “We have made consistent efforts to build strong institutional capacities in the fight against corruption by strengthening our anti-corruption Agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, the Code of Conduct Bureau and Code of Conduct Tribunal supported by a Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, such that they work independently and jointly, being guided by Law.

“We have also worked to address emergent cases of insecurity and insurgency in the country with innovative approaches such as “Operation Safe Corridor,” which de-radicalize, rehabilitate, and reintegrate willingly surrendered Boko Haram members into the larger society. Our security operations in the Niger Delta, North Central and North Western States are yielding desired results. We hope to get rid of bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements in these regions”.

He noted that the advent of COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant negative effect is being addressed through the constitution of a Presidential Task Force for proper coordination and the launch of the 12-month Economic Sustainability Plan to cushion the effect of the pandemic on our citizens and business owners. “I am confident that the lessons we have learned in the last one year of implementation of policies, programmes and projects, deliberations and resolutions from the different sessions, and experience sharing from various speakers will serve as the needed tool to propel every Ministry to the next level of achievement”.

President Buhari charged Ministers to defend the Government vigorously and not allow irresponsible and politically motivated activists to keep spreading patent falsehoods about his government. “Information to the public should be better packaged. Go on the offensive. We are proud of our achievements and we should blow our own trumpets.

“I have directed that a Central Delivery Coordination Unit at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation should be revived to ensure the much needed synergy and focus on results. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation is to ensure regular reports on progress are submitted”. He also directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, and all other responsible Agencies to ensure speedy and timely release of funds to MDAs for implementation of the N2.3Trillion Economic Sustainability Plan and the Capital Projects in the 2020 Budget.

“I also enjoin Ministers to ensure that funds released are utilized efficiently and transparently in implementing the programmes and projects along the Nine Priorities of Government. I am hereby charging Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and all Heads of Parastatals to be continuously conscious of their commitments and responsibilities”, he said.

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