Ministers Resume Duties, Talk Tough

Shortly after their inaugural meeting immediately President Muhammadu Buhari swore them in and assigned them portfolios, some of the 36 ministers resumed duties without delay.

Adeosun Promises Transparency in Govt. Finances
The new Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, on Wednesday formally assumed duty at the headquarters of the Ministry of Finance in Abuja.

Adeosun, who arrived at the ministry at about 3:30 p.m., was received by directors and other top officials in the ministry.

The minister immediately went into a closed-door meeting with directors.

Shortly after the meeting, the minister received the handing over note from the Director, International Economic Relations Department, Haruna Mohammed, at about 4:45 p.m..

Addressing newsmen after receiving the hand over note, the minister said that she would work with everyone to ensure that the promises made by President Muhammadu Buhari to Nigerians were achieved.

“Thank you for welcoming me and I appreciate it. I look forward to working with you and getting to know all of you and I am sure that over the next few months, we are going to be working closely together.”

Information Minister Urges Directors to Drive Change Agenda
Lai Mohammed, the new Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Development, has urged the directors of the ministry to key into the change agenda of the Buhari administration.

Mohammed gave the charge on Wednesday while addressing the directors and other management staff of the ministry in Abuja.

“Our business is to ensure that every day we put in our best because if you take care of small things, big things must take care of themselves.  You must see yourselves as very vital part of the valid change of this administration.

“Because no matter what this administration does, until and when it is out there in the public domain, you have done nothing. So, you have a very big challenge.

“We are not just spokespersons for the government, (but) we must also see ourselves as change agents for this government. We must see ourselves as people that will drive that change.

“We must see ourselves everywhere and every time what we do as representing this government.”

The new minister expressed the conviction that with the cooperation of all, the ministry would make a difference.

“We must put smile back on the faces of Nigerians. We must put back hope on the faces of Nigerians.

“I am quite encouraged by the dedication and patriotism of the President because this is the president that has no single agenda apart from Nigeria.

“And I believe that if we all work together, we will help him to achieve that change mantra.”

According to him, the civil service is not a place for politicking, adding that civil servants are the engine room of government.

“It does not bother you whether one person is APC or PDP. No, what concerns you is how to make this country a better place because we are all privileged to be where we are today,” he said.

Mohammed, who urged directors to contribute to the growth and well-being of the country, said he would soon meet with individual heads of departments for briefing.

We will Fight Unemployment to Halt –Ngige
Dr Chris Ngige, the newly appointed Minister of Labour and Employment, has assured Nigerians of the readiness of the ministry to tackle the menace of unemployment in the country.

The minister gave the assurance in Abuja on Wednesday while addressing management and staff of the Ministry on his assumption of duty.

A statement signed by Mr Samuel Olowookere, Deputy Director, Press quoted Ngige as saying that under his leadership the ministry would work in partnership with the private sector to generate jobs through developmental focused labour laws.

He said: “We will be at the fore front of the battle to stop the scourge of unemployment in the country.

“We must as a people put on our thinking caps so that we can chart the way forward for employment generation.

“We are the catalysts, the change agent of the change era. If we block leakages in our system, the country will be better because resources will be made available for economic growth of the nation.”

Industry, Trade and Investment
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah, and his State counterpart, Aisha Abubakar, assumed duty on Wednesday with a pledge to hit the ground running.

Both officials reported at the ministry’s headquarters in Area 1, Garki at about 4.10 p.m., after the maiden Federal Executive Council meeting that followed their inauguration.

They were received on arrival by the Permanent Secretary, Aliyu Bisalla, who also assumed duty on Wednesday and other officials of the ministry.

In a brief remark, Enelamah said he was excited over his appointment and the choice of ministry assigned to him by the President considering his experience in the world of finance and investment.

He pledged to hit the ground running and bring his wealth of private sector experience to bear in the discharge of his mandate.

The minister commended the outgone acting Permanent Secretary, Ajiaya Mammam and the entire staff for effectively running the ministry in the past six months.

He solicited for their cooperation and support with a promise to work with them for the realisation of the Federal Government’s change agenda in investment and industrial sectors.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the minister of state, Aisha Abubakar, later reported at her office where she was also received by officials.

The permanent secretary, Aliyu Bisalla, gave her an overview of the ministry’s mandate and pledged the cooperation and support of the entire staff.

Speaking with newsmen shortly after a tour of some offices under her purview, Abubakar also pledged to give her best in moving the ministry forward.

She said, “We are very excited not just with the opportunity given us to serve but also with the choice of ministry.

“With the private and public sector experiences we both have, we will use the platform of the ministry and its parastatals to move the country forward in line Mr President’s change agenda.”

Kachiwkwu Pledges to Boost Revenues
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachiwkwu, on Wednesday said the ministry would focus on boosting revenue generation through the discovery of more oil and gas in the country.

Kachikwu announced this while fielding questions from newsmen during his assumption of office in Abuja.

He said that part of his mission was to cut costs, block leakages while promoting transparency and accountability in the business of the ministry.

He said it was important for all stakeholders in the ministry to devise new ways of doing things, given the vantage position of the ministry as a major source of revenue to the federation.

According to him, it is necessary to think of new ways of doing business, given the dwindling nature of revenues accrued to the nation.

“Our policy direction is to find more money, find more oil, find more gas, monetise them and put money in the hands of the government. We have dwindling resources and yet the whole nation depends on this ministry to provide the resources.

“So we must be able to put on the cap on how do we cut cost; how do we improve on earnings; how do we make Federation Account to improve? How do we put controls that are essential to avoid leakages; how do we develop new income strings? How do we develop new investments to help the federation stabilise; those are very key and that is where we are heading to.”

Shittu Says Communications Sector Springboard for Industrial Revolution
Mr Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications, says the communications sector is a springboard for industrial and administrative revolution.

Shittu made this statement during his maiden meeting with the management staff of the ministry on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to him, God has blessed Nigeria with a large population that if explored in a fair manner communications can become the cash cow of the nation in place of petroleum.

“There are many graduates without the knowledge of ICT; many of them end up paying exorbitant fees to engage in entrepreneurial ventures to learn these things.

“We must evolve a policy that will engage the usage of ICT in our universities and polytechnics, which can generate a lot of income for government without being oppressive in our charges.

“The current economic downturn may be an inhibiting factor, however, we must be resolute in our resolve to make a difference serving Nigerians with utmost dedication, transparency and honesty.

“This we must do in order to achieve for our people the highest good possible in our circumstance, ‘’ he said.

Shittu frowned at a situation where just about ten per cent of the budget is capital project and the rest stands as overhead.

He stressed that if there were no capital projects, it would be difficult to achieve any level of development because hardly would jobs be created.

“It will not be business as usually, there will be zero budgeting, every budget must outline its programmes and everything budgeted for must be actualised to its last detail.

“We all must key into President Buhari’s plan of a society where jobs are created and readily available to make life less burdensome for those of us with many dependants.”