By ISMAILA CHAFE
ABUJA- President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Ministry of Transportation and relevant security agencies to ensure the provision of maximum security along the railway corridors.
The president gave the order at the closing ceremony of the 2022 Ministerial Performance Review Retreat on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said the order had become imperative in view of the huge investment made in the rail sector and the need to safeguard lives and property of the citizens.
He said: “We must ensure the safety of our rail users and strive to achieve the intended economic goals. We must at the same time ensure realizable schedules and first-class maintenance.
”Following the milestones recorded in the road sector, coupled with the innovative ways of funding road infrastructure, the Ministry of Works and Housing has been directed to compile a list of all completed roads, bridges and other infrastructure for commissioning before the end of this Administration.’’
The president also directed that the Federal Government’s investment in the reconstruction of 21 selected on-going Federal Roads totaling 1,804.6km.
According to him, the road projects which are being executed under the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Policy must be closely monitored and tracked to ensure the roads are completed on schedule.
”In line with the outcome of the Panel session on Priority 4 (Improve Transportation and Other Infrastructure), the Ministry of Aviation is hereby directed to conclude and ensure the take-off of the National Carrier Project before the end of the year.’’
In order to expand the fiscal space and improve the nation’s revenue generation efforts, Buhari directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to ensure effective implementation of the Strategic Revenue and Growth Initiative.
”In the same vein, we must also build synergy between the fiscal and monetary authorities in order to avoid unnecessary drawbacks in our economic planning and performance, ” he said.
On the implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, the president directed that a monitoring and evaluation framework be put in place by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with relevant agencies and partners to track the disbursement and utilization of the Fund.
On humanitarian issues, the president noted that in the three years of existence of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, the ministry had provided substantial support and assistance to vulnerable citizens through various programmes.
He, therefore, directed the Minister to facilitate and work with the Attorney General of the Federation in transmitting the Federal Executive Council’s approved National Social Investment Programme Establishment Bill (2022) to the National Assembly.
This, he said, would ensure the sustainability of this important programme which leaves a lasting legacy for the vulnerable Nigerians by this Administration.
On industry, trade and investment, the president directed the Ministry to engage relevant stakeholders to secure privatization of the six Special Economic Zones as approved by the Bureau of Public Enterprise.
The President also mandated the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to ensure the completion of the reorganization of the new Agencies unbundled from the defunct Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation in line with their mandates.
He said this would complement the current efforts in the nation’s Oil and Gas Sector.
”This should be completed by the end of the 1st Quarter of 2023, ” he said.
Buhari appealed to the National Assembly to fast-track the consideration and passage of key legislative bills as agreed during the Panel Session at the Retreat.
According to him, this will serve as collective legacy towards entrenching key reforms that will serve as a springboard for the next administration.
Buhari, who described the two-day retreat as time well-spent, said “it has provided an opportunity for reflection and lesson learning aimed at reviewing progress and agreeing on key actions that will ensure we finish well by the end of our administration come May 29, 2023.
”We have used the opportunity provided by this Retreat to carry out an objective assessment of our commitments in line with the contract we signed with the Nigerian people at the inception of this Administration in 2019.
”I am glad to note that we have sustained this yearly stock-taking innovative initiatives introduced in 2019 by holding three consecutive Performance Review Retreats in 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively.
“This has helped us to clearly identify what we have done, what needs to be done and how best to get it done.’’
The president noted that his administration had recorded an appreciable progress on the path of sustainable development through collective efforts.
He said: ”From the assessment report and discussions at this Retreat, it is evident that we have made appreciable progress through collective efforts in setting the Nation on the path of sustainable development while improving the well-being of our people.
”Notwithstanding these achievements, there are still unfinished businesses that we must speedily complete to ensure we finish well.
“We must, therefore, endeavour to close every gap in our implementation efforts to ensure the attainment of set targets by 2023.”
The Nigerian leader thanked former President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, the Keynote speaker at the Retreat, for sharing his wealth of experience during his tenure in Office.
He wished the former President a productive retirement and expressed the hope that he would continue to serve his people and the African continent in every way possible.
He further thanked the Kenyan delegation led by the former President for their support and contributions during the Retreat.
The president also commended the efforts of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and his team for successfully organizing four Retreats in the life of this administration.
He acknowledged the support of the technical partners and resource persons for adding immense value to the process. (NAN)