Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: Civil servants tried to rubbish APC campaign promises - Buhari {Re: BUHARI-NATION: Text Of National Broadcast By President Muhammadu Buhari (With Aluko Commentary)

And if you allow me to add the 7th  point, PMB should now start a process of reverting the country to a regional governance architecture of six regions, that Chief  Alex Ekwueme and his team recommended during the ill-fated Abacha's Constitutional Conference of 1994. The current 36 state structure is not sustainable, not today, not tomorrow and not in the next century. As experience has proved over and over, the almost  all the states  are avoidable drains on the national resources. Changing to a regional structure will require constitutional amendment, but that should not be a problem if the government can communicate the benefits to the people, who will in turn make demands on the members of the national assembly to make the necessary changes. My next point will be that while it may be imperative to retain the Senate as the second chamber for some political balancing, the numbers should be drastically reduced and their sitting should be on part-time basis.

On Mon, May 30, 2016 at 11:04 PM, Mobolaji Aluko <alukome@gmail.com> wrote:

Very true.....


Civil servants tried to rubbish APC campaign promises - Buhari

May 30, 2016
•Says one year in office was tumultuous
Written by: 
Leon Usigbe - Abuja

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has said that civil servants rubbished the campaign promises of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in their desire to stick to the old ways of doing things. 


The president also remarked that the last one year has been a tumultuous time for his government as it struggled to come to terms with administering the country. 



According to him, "the permanent secretaries that were there for the past five to seven years, the only thing that they know is how things were done in the previous years. 


"Whatever we did in the campaign, in fact, we were saying rubbish and that made it very difficult for us.  


"Things were even more difficult during the budget, which you all know about. 


"For somebody like me, for the first time, I heard what is called padding.


"I think we will recover by the fourth quarter of the year. What padding means especially for ministers who had to implement what padding contains...there were very serious developments which I never knew about. 


"So, really, it was a nasty experience for us. It was also a nasty experience for some of the ministers who were never in government, for them to sit down day and night to work."


Still talking about the difficulty of the past year, Buhari declared: "It was a tumultuous year for everyone in the villa. 


"I will talk about my experience here in Aso Villa.


"I underrated the influence of the PDP for 16 years watching from outside as eight consecutive governments. 


"The experience of the staff, their commitment and zeal is different from what it is now. Sixteen years of development in the life of a developing nation is a long time.


"When we came, there were 42 ministries. We cut it to 24.


"We had to do it on our own. We found out that government could not continue with 42 ministers and the paraphernalia of office. So, we cut it down to 24.  


"We had to cut down half the number of permanent secretaries and then do some cross postings."


He praised members of his cabinet for their hard work to prepare the 2016 budget, saying that the effort drained many of them. 



He noted: "I saw them some of them literarily lost weight because they were sleeping less and eating less, working on every kobo to be spent. 


"Because we became a mono-economy of oil rich Nigeria, everybody relied on oil and forgot about solid minerals, agriculture, making and exploring things. 


"We recently just found out that we are poor because we don't have anything to fall back to. 


"This is the condition we found ourselves and this change mantra had to go through hell up till yesterday (May 29)."


He further said: "Most of the permanent secretaries were sent out because it was time for some of them to go and for others, one thing or the other, because we are not part of those 16 years. 


"This is where we found ourselves and this is no joke."



I give Buhari and his Administration A for effort,  B for Achievement, and B+ for Most Likely to Succeed.

However, Buhari's Administration must act fast, and:

1.  Continue to use Buhari's own immense personal integrity to drive the political will of his Administration to DO THE RIGHT THINGS in THE RIGHT WAY, no matter the pressures, internal or external, to do otherwise.   The insistence on the harnessing of technology (TSA, GIFMIS, IPPIS, BVN, etc.) and the pushing through of the " Financial Sustainability Plan (Fiscal Framework for Sub-National Governments in Nigeria)" agreed with States are examples of demonstration of such political will that has been missing in previous administrations.  While an anti-corruption agenda upon which he was elected a year ago is an absolutely NECESSARY condition to move Nigeria forward, it is not a SUFFICIENT condition on the  economic front: other ingredients (such as FSP and various social stimulus packages) must be added.

2.  Speed up the revamping of the personnel architecture of the old administration by  bringing in new national blood across various levels of the administration.  Too many old hands remain in their previous stations, suspiciously acting as "Trojan horses." Buhari's ministers were appointed late in his first year under his innocent assumption that the Civil Service that he inherited was pristine, but the astounding "padding" of his first-year Budget has shown him that this was not the case.  A dubiously (dis)loyal National Legislature - again a result of his hands-off policy in the choosing of its leadership - worsened the budget issue.  Hopefully - and promisingly -  the Budget process will improve in the coming year.

3.  Pluck low hanging fruits early.  In the anti-terrorism fight, the decimation of Boko Haram has been exemplary, but more Chibok girls - certainly more that just the two out of two-hundred-and-nineteen announced recently -  need to be brought in from the cold after two years.  The new Niger-Delta upsurge, with all that region's  social dysfunctions,  must not be allowed to fester in any way.  EFCC (and to a lesser extent the ICPC) has been exemplary in going after high-net-worth and politically-exposed individuals, and getting more convictions, but disclosure and credible deployment of funds seized must be made without further delay.  The implementation of the now-reconciled 2016 Budget is the most credible means of measuring how the Administration is effective, and the quickest impact of its social alleviation schemes must be carefully exhibited.

4.  Think outside the box as it continues to make anti-corruption its center-piece agenda.  Federal Government size must be reduced - corruption tends to increase when more people have to interact with more government staff, apart from un-balanced size of recurrent expenditure - and the principle of subsidiarity must be used to evolve a more cooperative true federalism where accountability at more local levels can be enforced.  Preventing corruption rather than punishing it must be the emphasis.

5.  Ensure a Media Staff and Ministerial Group that Communicates the Administration's Vision, Policies and Achievements in unison.    Nothing annoys citizens more than un-coordinated policy statements from government, with mixed messages all over the place.  Whether it is Fuel, Forex or Foreign Policy, a government arm must be designated to be the clearing house for a given policy, and be empowered with all the proper information in a timely manner to deliver the message appropriately and coherently.  During the Obasanjo regime, the Government did not get a good handle on its debt issue until the Debt Management Office (DMO) was designated, with the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank deferring accordingly.  Federal Executive Meetings need not be weekly, but should not be only quarterly either! :-)

6.  Ensure always that rule of law and due process are obeyed.   Anti-corruption prosecution and funds repatriation tend to be tedious, and the temptation to circumvent law and due process exist. However, if law has to be changed to speed processes up, then they should be put forward, complete with adopting and domesticating unconventional solutions and learning from international legal practice.  Nigeria's current state of Bench and even Bar presents serious risks to a credible fight against corruption - as recent fraud cases have shown - but the fight still be fought all the same.

Finally, I continue to periodically look at my Rings of Change around Buhari diagram, and I intend to re-visit after his second year in office:

And there you have it.

Bolaji Aluko

On Sun, May 29, 2016 at 11:53 PM, Mobolaji Aluko <alukome@gmail.com> wrote:

Text Of National Broadcast By President Muhammadu Buhari

May 29, 2016

My Compatriots: 

It is one year today since our administration came into office. It has been a year of triumph, consolidation, pains and achievements. By age, instinct and experience, my preference is to look forward, to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead and rededicate the administration to the task of fixing Nigeria. But I believe we can also learn from the obstacles we have overcome and the progress we made thus far, to help strengthen the plans that we have in place to put Nigeria back on the path of progress.

We affirm our belief in democracy as the form of government that best assures the active participation and actual benefit of the people. Despite the many years of hardship and disappointment, the people of this nation have proved inherently good, industrious tolerant, patient and generous.  

The past years have witnessed huge flows of oil revenues. From 2010 average oil prices were $100 per barrel. But economic and security conditions were deteriorating. We campaigned and won the election on the platform of restoring security, tackling corruption and restructuring the economy. On our arrival, the oil price had collapsed to as low as $30 per barrel, and we found nothing had been kept for the rainy day. Oil prices have been declining since 2014 but due to the neglect of the past, the country was not equipped to halt the economy from declining.

The infrastructure, notably rail, power, roads were in a decrepit state. All the four refineries were in a state of disrepair, the pipelines and depots neglected.

Huge debts owed to contractors and suppliers had accumulated. Twenty-seven states could not pay salaries for months. In the north-east, Boko Haram had captured 14 local governments, driven the local authorities out, hoisted their flags. Elsewhere, insecurity was palpable; corruption and impunity were the order of the day. In short, we inherited a state near collapse.

On the economic front, all oil-dependent countries, Nigeria included, have been struggling since the drop in prices. Many oil rich states have had to take tough decisions similar to what we are doing. The world, Nigeria included has been dealing with the effects of three significant and simultaneous global shocks starting in 2014:

1.       A 70% drop in oil prices.

2.     Global growth slowdown.

3.     Normalization of monetary policy by the United States federal reserve.

Our problems as a government are like that of a farmer who in a good season harvests ten bags of produce. The proceeds enable him to get by for rest of the year. However, this year he could only manage 3 bags from his farm. He must now think of other ways to make ends meet.

From day one, we purposely set out to correct our condition, to change Nigeria. We reinforced and galvanized our armed forces with new leadership and resources. We marshaled our neighbours in a joint task force to tackle and defeat Boko Haram. By the end of December 2015, all but pockets and remnants had been routed by our gallant armed forces. Our immediate focus is for a gradual and safe return of internally displaced persons in safety and dignity and for the resumption of normalcy in the lives of people living in these areas.

EFCC was given the freedom to pursue corrupt officials, and the judiciary was alerted on what Nigerians expect of them in the fight against corruption. On the economy, in particular, foreign exchange and fuel shortages, our plan is to save foreign exchange by fast tracking repair of the refineries and producing most of our fuel requirements at home. And by growing more food in Nigeria, mainly rice, wheat and sugar, we will save billions of dollars in foreign exchange and drastically reduce our food import bill.

We resolved to keep the Naira steady, as in the past, devaluation had done dreadful harm to the Nigerian economy. Furthermore, I supported the monetary authority's decision to ensure alignment between monetary policy and fiscal policy. We shall keep a close look on how the recent measures affect the Naira and the economy. But we cannot get away from the fact that a strong currency is predicated on a strong economy. And a strong economy pre-supposes an industrial productive base and a steady export market. The measures we must take, may lead to hardships. The problems Nigerians have faced over the last year have been many and varied. But the real challenge for this government has been reconstructing the spine of the Nigerian state. The last twelve months have been spent collaborating with all arms of government to revive our institutions so that they are more efficient and fit for purpose:

· That means a bureaucracy better able to develop and deliver policy

· That means an independent judiciary, above suspicion and able to defend citizen's rights and dispense justice equitably.

· That means a legislature that actually legislates effectively and

· Above all; that means political parties and politicians committed to serving the Nigerian people rather than themselves.

These are the pillars of the state on which democracy can take root and thrive. But only if they are strong and incorruptible. Accordingly, we are working very hard to introduce some vital structural reforms in the way we conduct government business and lay a solid foundation on which we can build enduring change.

An important first step has been to get our housekeeping right. So we have reduced the extravagant spending of the past. We started boldly with the single treasury account, stopping the leakages in public expenditure.

We then identified forty-three thousand ghost workers through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information system. That represents pay packets totalling N4.2 billion stolen every month.  In addition, we will save Twenty-Three Billion  Naira per annum from official travelling and sitting allowances alone.

Furthermore, the efficiency unit will cut costs and eliminate duplications in ministries and departments. Every little saving helps. The reduction in the number of ministries and work on restructuring and rationalization of the MDAs is well underway. When this work is complete, we will have a leaner, more efficient public service that is fit for the purpose of changing Nigeria for the good and for good.

As well as making savings, we have changed the way public money is spent. In all my years as a public servant, I have never come across the practice of padding budgets. I am glad to tell you now we not only have a budget but more importantly, we have a budget process that is more transparent, more inclusive and more closely tied to our development priorities than in the recent past. 30% of the expenditure in this budget is devoted to capital items. Furthermore, we are projecting non-oil revenues to surpass proceeds from oil. Some critics have described the budget exercise as clumsy. Perhaps. But it was an example of consensus building, which is integral to democratic government. In the end, we resolved our differences.

 We have, therefore, delivered significant milestones on security, corruption, and the economy. In respect of the economy, I would like to directly address you on the very painful but inevitable decisions we had to make in the last few weeks specifically on the pump price of fuel and the more flexible exchange rate policy announced by the central bank. It is even more painful for me that a major producer of crude oil with four refineries that once exported refined products is today having to import all of its domestic needs. This is what corruption and mismanagement has done to us, and that is why we must fight these ills.

As part of the foundation of the new economy, we have had to reform how fuel prices had traditionally been fixed. This step was taken only after protracted consideration of its pros and cons. After a comprehensive investigation, my advisers and I concluded that the mechanism was unsustainable.

We are also engaged in making recoveries of stolen assets some of which are in different jurisdictions. The processes of recovery can be tedious and time-consuming, but today I can confirm that thus far: a significant amount of assets have been recovered. A considerable portion of these are at different stages of recovery. The Ministry of Information will now publish full details of the status and categories of the assets and update periodically. When forfeiture formalities are completed these monies will be credited to the treasury and be openly and transparently used in funding developmental projects and the public will be informed.

On the Niger Delta, we are committed to implementing the United Nations Environment Programme report and are advancing clean-up operations. I believe the way forward is to take a sustainable approach to address the issues that affect the Delta communities. Re-engineering the amnesty programmes is an example of this. The recent spate of attacks by militants disrupting oil and power installations will not distract us from engaging leaders in the region in addressing Niger Delta problems. If the militants and vandals are testing our resolve, they are much mistaken. We shall apprehend the perpetrators and their sponsors and bring them to justice.

The policy measures and actions taken so far are not to be seen as some experiment in governance. We are fully aware that those vested interests who have held Nigeria back for so long will not give up without a fight. They will sow divisions, sponsor vile press criticisms at home and abroad, incite the public in an effort to create chaos rather than relinquish the vice-like grip they have held on Nigeria.

The economic misfortune we are experiencing in the shape of very low oil prices has provided us with an opportunity to restructure our economy and diversify. We are in the process of promoting agriculture, livestock, exploiting our solid mineral resources and expanding our industrial and manufacturing base. That way, we will import less and make the social investments necessary to allow us to produce a large and skilled workforce.

Central Bank of Nigeria will offer more fiscal incentives for business that prove capable of manufacturing products that are internationally competitive. We remain committed to reforming the regulatory framework, for investors by improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the first steps along the path of self-sufficiency in rice, wheat and sugar – big users of our scarce foreign exchange – have been taken. The Labour Intensive Farming Enterprise will boost the economy and ensure inclusive growth in long-neglected communities. Special intervention funds through the Bank of Agriculture will provide targeted support. Concerns remain about rising cost of foods such as maize, rice, millet, beans, and garri. Farmers tell me that they are worried about the cost of fertilizers, pesticides and the absence of extension services. The federal and state governments are on the same page in tackling these hurdles in our efforts at increased food production and ultimately food security.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the increasing role that our women are playing in revitalizing the agricultural sector. Modern farming is still hard and heavy work, and I salute our Nigerian women in sharing this burden. In this respect, I am very pleased to announce that the government will shortly be launching the national women's empowerment fund, which I have approved to provide N1.6 billion in micro-finance loans to women across the nation to assist in rehabilitating the economies of rural communities, particularly those impacted by the insurgency and conflict. 

With respect to solid minerals, the minister has produced a roadmap where we will work closely with the world bank and major international investors to ensure through best practices and due diligence that we choose the right partners. Illegal mining remains a problem and we have set up a special security team to protect our assets. Special measures will be in place to protect miners in their work environment.

For too long, ours has been a society that neglects the poor and victimizes the weak. A society that promotes profit and growth over development and freedom. A society that fails to recognize that, to quote the distinguished economist Amartya Sen " poverty is not just lack of money. It is not having the capability to realize one's full potential as a human being."

So, today, I am happy to formally  launch, by far the most ambitious social protection programme in our history. A programme that both seeks to start the process of lifting many from poverty, while at the same time creating the opportunity for people to fend for themselves. In this regard, Five Hundred Billion Naira has been appropriated in the 2016 budget for social intervention programmes in five key areas. We are committed to providing job creation opportunities for five hundred thousand teachers and one hundred thousand artisans across the nation. 5.5 million children are to be provided with nutritious meals through our school feeding programme to improve learning outcomes, as well as enrolment and completion rates. The conditional cash transfer scheme will provide financial support for up to one million vulnerable beneficiaries, and complement the enterprise programme – which will target up to one million market women; four hundred and sixty thousand artisans; and two hundred thousand agricultural workers, nationwide. Finally, through the education grant scheme, we will encourage students studying sciences, technology, engineering and maths, and lay a foundation for human capital development for the next generation

I would like to pay a special tribute to our gallant men and women of the armed forces who are in harm's way so that the rest of us can live and go about our business in safety. Their work is almost done. The nation owes them a debt of gratitude.

Abroad, we want to assure our neighbours, friends and development partners that Nigeria is firmly committed to democratic principles. We are ready partners in combating terrorism, cyber crimes, control of communicable diseases and protection of the environment. Following on the Paris Agreement, COP 21, we are fully committed to halting and reversing desertification. Elsewhere, we will intensify efforts to tackle erosion, ocean surge, flooding and oil spillage which I referred to earlier by implementing the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.

We are grateful to the international community notably France, the US, UK and China for their quick response in helping to tackle the recent Ebola outbreak in our sub-region. We also acknowledge the humanity shown by the Italian and German governments in the treatment of boat people, many fleeing from our sub-region because of lack of economic opportunity. We thank all our partners especially several countries in the EU.

We appreciate the valuable work that the UN agencies, particularly UNICEF, ICRC, the World Food Program have been doing. We must also appreciate the World Bank, the Gates Foundation, the Global Fund and Educate A Child of Qatar for the excellent work in our health, education and other sectors.

Fellow citizens let me end on a happy note. To the delight of all, two of the abducted Chibok girls have regained their freedom. During the last one year, not a single day passed without my agonizing about these girls. Our efforts have centred around negotiations to free them safely from their mindless captors. We are still pursuing that course. Their safety is of paramount concern to me and I am sure to most Nigerians. I am very worried about the conditions those still captured might be in. Today I re-affirm our commitment to rescuing our girls. We will never stop until we bring them home safely. As I said before, no girl should be put through the brutality of forced marriage and every Nigerian girl has the right to an education and a life choice.

I thank you and appeal to you to continue supporting the government's efforts to fix Nigeria.



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