President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday advised his new ministers to ensure they run a lean government at all levels, to avoid wastage of public funds.
He charged them to key into the change agenda of government, as they are the vehicle that will administer the change to Nigerians.
President Buhari gave the charge when he opened a two-day retreat for the 36 ministers-designate at the old banquet hall of the presidential villa, Abuja.
The president said the administration would be assessed based on the number of Nigerians it is able to lift out of poverty.
The retreat, themed, “Delivering change from precepts to practice”, was attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, all ministers-designate and other presidential aides.
Speaking at the opening ceremony before the retreat went into closed session, President Buhari said the ministers must be the drivers of the governing party, the All Progressives Congress, APC’s change mantra.
“You are coming on board the ship of governance at an interesting time. So much has been said about the state of our economy. It is expected that we make the running of Government at all levels as lean as possible, avoid waste and conserve resources. As ministers, you must be the vehicle that will administer the change”, he said.
“Our main task is to turn our manifesto promises to practice and results. Over the next two days I expect you to have a better understanding of the context in which we have taken the challenge of serving our country, as well as the strategies we have adopted to tackle them. I would also expect you to be even more determined to work as a team, and to live up to the high standards of probity and integrity which Nigerians expect of us”.
Mr. Buhari said the major focus of his administration would be diversification from oil.
“We will intervene in mining and agriculture and upgrade the country’s physical and social infrastructure, which will broaden our revenue base and significantly improve the level of employment, especially among the youth. Our economic focus will be policies that will ensure inclusive growth and we will count our achievements based on the number of Nigerians we move out of poverty”, he said.
The president also reminded the ministers to establish effective communication with their colleagues, and to channel all communication and appointments to the Presidency through the Office of the Chief of Staff “as is normal in this Presidential System”.