Declaring the retreat open on Monday, President Buhari said he will be counting on the ministers and the advisers to contribute to build upon the road map of policies, programmes and projects that will lift the bulk of Nigerians out of poverty and set them on the road to prosperity.
He stressed that they will be responsible for the development and implementation of policies, programmes and projects in the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies in line with Government priorities.
The President also directed that they must ensure that Agencies under their Ministries are effective, efficient and accountable in the discharge of their responsibilities.
President Buhari said: “As Ministers, I am counting on you, together with Advisers and Nigerians willing and able to contribute to build upon our road map of policies, programmes and projects that will lift our people out of poverty and set them on the road to prosperity.
“Our Administration’s eight years will have laid the grounds for lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. This outcome will fundamentally shift Nigeria’s trajectory and place us among the World’s Great Nations.
“You will be responsible for the development and implementation of policies, programmes and projects in your various Ministries, Departments and Agencies in line with Government priorities. You must also ensure that Agencies under your Ministries are effective, efficient and accountable in the discharge of their responsibilities.
“We must work as a team. Although you have been chosen to represent your states as a constitutional imperative, it is vital for all of you to work as Nigerians.
“Furthermore, working as a team demands that we know what the next person is doing. You must open communications with your colleagues. Lack of communication leads to lack of cooperation and sub-optimal performance.”
He noted that they have been chosen above others to join the first term Ministers whose performance has been outstanding.
He said: “It is a great privilege for you to be called upon to serve in these Great Offices of State, and you must grasp the chance with two hands and put in your best efforts as Nigeria needs top managers to handle our numerous challenges. There will be long hours and you must be prepared to live laborious days if we are to serve our people optimally.”
The President reiterated that his administration identified three salient areas of addressing security, fighting corruption and revamping the economy.
According to him, “In our first term we identified three salient areas for close attention and action, namely to secure the country, to improve the economy and to fight corruption.
“None but the most partisan will dispute that we have made headway in all three areas:
“First, we have rolled back the frontiers of terrorism; we are actively addressing other challenges such as kidnappings, farmer-herder violence, improving the safety of our roads, railways, air traffic and fire control capacities.
“Secondly, we are steadily turning the economy round through investment in agriculture and manufacturing, shoring up our foreign reserves, curbing inflation and improving the country’s infrastructure.
“Thirdly, on corruption, we have recovered hundreds of billions of stolen assets and are actively pursuing control measures to tackle leakages in public resources. We will not let up in fighting corruption.”
In his opening remarks, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said the call to service requires that all appointees fully share in the President’s vision and agenda for the country.
According to him, “The presidential retreat is to further prepare us to be able to share in this vision and sense of purpose.
“As Ministers, you will be required to work with the highest standard of integrity, discipline and dedication that has been set by the President in the service of the country.”