ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE SWEARING-IN OF SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION AND MINISTERS AT STATE HOUSE, ABUJA, WEDNESDAY 21ST AUGUST 2019
Today marks another milestone in the history of my second term in Office, after Nigerians overwhelmingly voted the All Progressives Congress during the 2019 general elections. The outcome of the election was a clear testimony of the strong confidence of our people in this Administration, and we must not let them down.
2. Over the past four years, we have made enormous progress in tackling difficult challenges faced by the country. We have exited the country from recession, restored economic growth, curbed inflation and shored up our external reserves. As a result, we have witnessed eight quarters of consistent growth over the past two-and-a-half years, providing more opportunities to more Nigerians.
3. However, our nation continues to face tough challenges, and we are determined to build on the progress of the last 4 years in order to fundamentally shift Nigeria’s trajectory and improve the wellbeing of our people.
4. Today, I am pleased to inaugurate 43 new Ministers who will work with me and the Vice President in our service to the people of Nigeria. You were chosen from each of the 36 States of the Federation, and most importantly, you share my commitment to working tirelessly for the people of this country and to achieving a future where every Nigerian can reach his/her full potential.
5. I believe you are ready to get to work. Indeed, the work has already started. For the past two days, you were with me at the retreat. The retreat which was conducted with clear focus on the roadmap towards the delivery of Government Policies, Programmes and Projects for 2019-2023. During the period, I shared my vision for Nigeria and what our priorities will be for the next four years. These priorities are the pillars on which we can build a better Nigeria.
6. As you are aware, the core objectives of this Administration are to improve security, achieve diversified, inclusive economic growth and fight corruption. I am convinced that we can build a buoyant economy that supports inclusive growth and creates broad-based prosperity for every Nigerian – one that will absorb the two million Nigerians entering the labour market each year, as well as reduce the backlog of over 20 million unemployed or underemployed Nigerians.
7. We must also intensify efforts to reduce internal security threats and eliminate corruption at all levels so as to ensure that our citizens have a safe and corruption-free environment where they can live and conduct their businesses, without fear and intimidation.
8. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, all these are only possible if we are relentless about delivering on the priorities that are vital to our overall objectives – and on the specific actions and targets that have been identified to guide policy direction and implementation as specified in our roadmap.
9. I am pleased to note that at the end of the retreat, we have agreed and prioritized the key strategic initiatives required to drive socio-economic growth in our country, which must be accomplished, because the people of Nigeria expect nothing less from us. We have also agreed on the appropriate Key Performance Indicators and deliverables to be achieved in the road map on Government priorities – 2019 – 2023.
10. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, our primary business over the next four years is to work together towards delivering the results that the people of Nigeria expect from us. We have a great opportunity as an Administration to build on the progress already made in order to fundamentally shift Nigeria’s trajectory on the path of steady growth and development.
11. While recognizing the existing challenges, and the urgent need to surmount them, we must not fail to note the progress we have made since inception. Our economic policy, which is the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, is still robust and on course with the necessary policies and initiatives to sustain the country’s exit from recession, engender growth and promote the value chain of infrastructural development. We believe that we can sustain our legacies and developmental strides if they are based on sustainable policies and good governance.
12. Let me also emphasize that, as heads of your respective Ministries, and for effective implementation of your mandates, you are required to work closely with the Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive Officers of Agencies under your purview. This has become necessary considering the fact that, the task of moving the country to the Next Level requires dedication, focus, and collective effort.
13 I must emphasize the importance of communication and harmony within our government. You must work in harmony with your fellow Ministers. Communication – vertical and horizontal can only be ignored at a price. As I said yesterday, in terms of coordinating communication, 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 in order to speed up the process of decision-making.
14. We can only make meaningful progress in our national restoration efforts if we all commit ourselves to addressing the challenges confronting our nation in the best interest of our people and posterity. We must not allow such issues as political affiliation, sectional interest, and primordial loyalties to blind us against our patriotic obligation to drive our nation’s growth, development, and prosperity in an atmosphere of enduring peace, security and stability.
15. Dear Honourable Ministers, as you are aware, the Federal Executive Council Meeting is held on a weekly basis. As part of efforts towards ensuring effective delivery on our priorities, I have directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to track the progress against what we have committed to do to achieve these objectives. He is therefore expected to report the process of implementation and outcome to the Federal Executive Council.
16. I am pleased to note that each of you is committed to be part of an administration that will work for all Nigerians—part of a government that will do what is right and best at all times for our people, even when it is difficult. This is therefore an opportunity for you, it is a call to serve and collectively build a safer, more prosperous, and fair nation.
17. In conclusion, I am pleased to inform you that the Federal Ministries have been further expanded to ensure effective service delivery. The Ministers are therefore allocated portfolios as follows:
18. On this note, I wish to formally inaugurate the new members of the Federal Executive Council