CLOSING ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE FIRST YEAR MINISTERIAL PERFORMANCE REVIEW RETREAT STATE HOUSE CONFERENCE CENTRE, ABUJA, 8TH SEPTEMBER, 2020.
The last two days have provided an opportunity for us to undertake an objective assessment of our stewardship of the contract we have signed with the Nigerian people since the inception of our second tenure as a Government.
2. From the report on the Scorecard and engagement with participants at this retreat, it is encouraging to note that progress has been made on all fronts, in spite of the multiple challenges that have arisen since our coming to the office.
3. I, therefore, commend your efforts, commitment, and resilience to the cardinal aspiration of this Administration. As I stated in my opening remarks yesterday, ‘the Nigerian people expect dedication and commitment by all of us in implementing policies, programs, and projects to improve the quality of their lives and set Nigeria on the path of prosperity.
4. Let me reassure all Nigerians that this Administration remains resolute in initiating programs aimed at improving the quality of lives and uplifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next ten years.
5. The proceedings of the last two days have been designed to ensure the attainment of Ministerial deliverables is on track and to accelerate the achievement of the Nine Priority Areas in the face of current challenges.
6. Distinguished participants, the discussions at the retreat have revealed that our country has what it takes to weather through the storms of contemporary challenges.
7. Within these few days, we have examined the numerous policies, programs, and projects the Administration has embarked upon which are targeted at lifting our people from the shackles of poverty, protect their lives and properties and ensure equitable distribution of the nation’s wealth.
8. We aim to gradually close the gap between the different classes to bring joy to a greater number of citizens.
9. I am glad that these policies, programs, and projects have recorded appreciable successes. Our renewed vigor on agriculture has been demonstrated through our Anchor Borrowers Programme and the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. Our anti-corruption 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 offenses 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.
16. 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 the North-Western States are yielding desired results. We hope to get rid of bandits, kidnappers, and other criminal elements in these regions.
17. The advent of the 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.
18. Your Excellencies, Distinguished participants, I am confident that the lessons we have learned in the last one year of implementation of policies, programs 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.
19. More importantly, the trust reposed in us by Nigerians remains the ultimate driving force. We cannot afford to lose focus, regardless of the challenges. Our eyes must therefore remain fixed on the ultimate goal.
20. More than ever before, I charge us all to play as a team, because that is what we are. A convoy is however only as strong as its slowest vessel.
21. To this end, the days of insufficient collaboration, coordination, and synergy among implementing Ministries, Departments, and Agencies should be over.
22. In this regard, 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.
23. I have to charge all of you to defend the Government vigorously and not allow irresponsible and politically motivated activists to keep spreading patent falsehoods about this 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.
24. Let me also reiterate that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channeled through the Chief of Staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters are coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
25. I have 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.
26. I also enjoin Ministers to ensure that funds released are utilized efficiently and transparently in implementing the programs and projects along the Nine Priorities of Government.
27. I am hereby charging Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, and all Heads of Parastatals to be continuously conscious of their commitments and responsibilities. On behalf of the people of Nigeria, I demand the uttermost level of performance, deliverables, and results.
28. I look forward to a result-oriented year, with tremendous benefits that will continue to change the lives of our people positively.
I thank you for your attention and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.