In-coming ministers have been asked to prepare to fight poverty by workng hard to help the Federal Government implement its programmes and policies.
President Muhammadu Buhari, while opening a two-day retreat for in-coming ministers and other top government functionaries in Abuja, said government must work hard to address the challenges of a growing population and the menace of joblessness.
“We are all aware of the looming demographic potential of our country. By average estimates, our population is close to 200 million today. By 2050, UN estimates put Nigeria third globally behind only India and China with our projected population at 411 million.This is a frightening prospect but only if we sit idly by and expect handouts from so-called development partners,” said the president.
He specifically asked them to think deep and come up with strategies to lay the foundation for lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty ten years from now.
“As Ministers, I am counting on you together with advisers and Nigerians willing and able to contribute to build upon our road map of policies, programmes and projects that will lift the bulk of our people out of poverty and set them on the road to prosperity”, President Buhari said.
He gave the ministers a schedule of duties, including the development and implementation of policies, programmes and projects in their various Ministries, Departments and Agencies in line with Government priorities. He advised them to ensure that agencies under them are effective, efficient and accountable in the discharge of their responsibilities. He also charged them to imbibie the spirit of team work.
“Honourable Ministers-Designate, we must work as a team. Although you have been chosen to represent your states as a constitutional imperative, it is vital for all of you to work as Nigerians. Working as a team demands that we know what the next person is doing. You must open communications with your colleagues. Lack of communication leads to lack of cooperation and sub-optimal performance,” the president warned.
Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo,making the first presentation at the retreat, identified key issues of national importance that must engage the attention of the new ministers. He listed them as poverty eradication, job creation, power supply, revenue generation, promotion of agriculture, boosting industrial output, completion of on-going infrastructural projects and human capital development, especially in education and health care.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha said the retreat was designed to prepare participants for their roles in the new cabinet of President Buhari. “This assembly will afford participants the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their roles and responsibilities as cabinet ministers, an understanding that will help to shape and streamline efforts towards achieving the delivery of dividends of democracy to the people of Nigeria,” he disclosed.
Mustapha said the outcome of this retreat will set a strategic agenda which would define the course of action for the next four years of the Administrationm as well as set achievable targets and identify basic strategic options that will assist the new Cabinet realise set goals.