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Buhari Charges Ministers-Designate to Prove Their Mettle

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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, tasked ministers designate to live up to the expectations of Nigerians by by working in tune with his administration’s policies and ensuring that that the lives of Nigerians especially the ordinary citizens are better off. 

The President enjoined the ministers designate to adopt team work adding that many national issues require unified decisions.

The President gave the charge when he  declared-opened, a two day retreat for ministers-designate and other top government functionaries at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He emphasized that his new cabinet members would have to prove their mettle in delivering on policies and programmes aimed at  lifting many Nigerians out of poverty index.

 At the end of the Retreat, Buhari said, “it is hoped that all of you will be in tune with the roles and responsibilities of positions you will occupy in Government.”

He said that his government succeeded in the last four years in rolling back the frontiers of terrorism; and actively addressing other challenges such as kidnappings, farmer-herder violence, improving the safety on our roads, railways, air traffic and fire control capacities.

The President declared that his government would have to carve a niche for itself economically, by ignoring what he termed as ‘handouts from development partners’ to solve prevailing challenges confronting the country.

He explained that considering the United Nations (UN) projection that Nigeria’s population will increase to 411 million by 2050, to become the third globally, behind only India and China, there was need for urgent measures to check what he described as ‘frightening consequences’.

He said: “we are all aware of the looming demographic potential of our country. By average estimates, our population is close to 200 million today. By 2050, UN estimates put Nigeria third globally behind only India and China with our projected population at 411 million.

“This is a frightening prospect but only if we sit idly by and expect handouts from so-called development partners. The solution to our problems lies within us,” he added.

The President also noted that: “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 the bulk of our people out of poverty and set them on the road to prosperity.”

He said his government cumulatively in eight years, would have laid the grounds for lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.

According to him, such outcome will fundamentally shift Nigeria’s trajectory and place it among the World’s Great Nations.

Buhari who reminded the ministers designate that they will be responsible for the development and implementation of policies, programmes and projects in their various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), said that they must ensure that such agencies remain effective, efficient and accountable in the discharge of their responsibilities.

President Buhari 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 today 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.

“I congratulate all the new comers who your country has chosen above others to join the first term Ministers whose performance has been outstanding. All of you are appointed to assist and advise the President in running the affairs of our country.

“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.

“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,” Buhari said.

Earlier in his remarks, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha said that the objective of the retreat was to prepare the new cabinet members for the challenges ahead in Buhari’s second tenure, while affording them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their roles and responsibilities as Cabinet Ministers.

This, the SGF said, would help to shape and streamline efforts towards achieving the delivery of dividends of democracy to the people of Nigeria.

He said that the outcome of the retreat will set a strategic agenda which would define our course of action for the next four years of the Administration, set achievable targets and identify basic strategic options that will assist the new Cabinet realise the goals for which the Administration was elected to achieve.

According to him, the retreat was conceptualized in three thematic phases comprising, a Context Setting segment, led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and supported by Mckinsey & Co. and KPMG as consultants.

“The second segment is principally designed to be more interactive, setting the values of team work as your appointments demand, which will be demonstrated by your involvement in syndicated breakout sessions focused on topics across defined Government priority areas,” Boss noted.

The retreat is expected to end on Tuesday while the ministers will be assigned portfolios and sworn-in by President Buhari on Wednesday inside the Council Chambers.

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FCTA Moves to Curb Medical Tourism

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja
Federal capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has pledged to provide the necessary support for the successful completion and operation of the African Medical Center of Excellence, with a view to reversing medical tourism.
The FCT Minister of State, Dr. Mariya Mahmoud, made this pledge during a site tour of the state of the art facility, of African Medical Centre for Excellence, billed to be operational in early 2025.


Mahmoud noted that the partnership between the African Export-Import Bank and Kings College Hospital London to establish the 170-bed hospital was a testament to the commitment to advancing clinical care, training, and research in specialty areas such as oncology, cardiovascular services, hematology, diagnostics, and general medical services.

The minister further added; “The potential impact of this initiative in reversing medical tourism and reducing healthcare worker migration is commendable.
“I am encouraged by the prospect of over 1000 workers being employed to support the hospital’s operations.
“Therefore, I am fully committed to ensuring that the Federal Capital Territory Administration provides the necessary support for the successful establishment and operation of the African Medical Center of Excellence.
“We are happy to see, that the 6.5 hectares of land, which was donated by the Federal Capital Territory Administration, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, as part of the host country agreement, has been developed to accomodate this hospital.”
While conducting the minister round the project, the Chief Executive Officer, African Medical Center of Excellence, Mr. Brian Deaver, commended the FCT Administration for the strategic partnership.
He used the occasion to inform the minister that the management staff of the medical centre are looking forward to further contributions of the Administration to improvement in the management of non communicable diseases in the territory.
Deaver stressed that the potential benefits of the location of this hospital in Abuja is significant, just as he expressed confidence that the partnership would yield positive outcomes for the healthcare sector in the region.

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Ortom, Ode, Asemakaha Felicitates  With Alia on 58th Birthday

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi  
Former Governor of Benue State, Chief Samuel Ortom, the incumbent Deputy Governor, Barr Sam Ode and the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of Benue Investment and Property Company (BIPC), Dr Raymond Asemakaha, Wednesday, extended their felicitations to the State Governor, Rev Fr.

Hyacinth Alia on his  58th birthday celebration.

The former governor in  a statement signed by  his Media Aide,Terver Akase and made available to newsmen in Makurdi, prayed God to grant Governor Alia the wisdom and health to steer the affairs of the state.

 He maintained that God would grant Alia the enablement to surmount all challenges fronting his administration and wished him a memorable birthday celebration and many more years ahead.

The statement  read in part: “Your Excellency, as you celebrate, I pray that God grants you wisdom, good health and strength to enable you to continue to steer the affairs of our dear state.
“Leadership comes with its numerous challenges, but I have no doubt that with God’s grace and guidance, all problems are surmountable.”
Similarly, the Deputy Governor of the State, Barr. Sam Odeh, on behalf of the State Executive Council (SEC), prayed that Governor Alia’s birthday would be a celebration of his uncommon passion for speedy transformation of the state.
“On behalf of the Benue State Executive Council, I write to warmly felicitate with Your Excellency, Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia, Executive Governor of Benue State on the occasion of your 58th birthday anniversary.
“As you mark your years of existence on earth today, we heartily join your family, the good people of Benue State and the entire nation in wishing Your Excellency a very happy birthday.
“May your 58th birthday be a celebration of your positive energy and uncommon passion for speedy transformation of Benue State. As Governor of our dear state, you have, in the last one year, demonstrated pragmatic leadership with selflessness and dedication, by rendering quality service to the good people of Benue.
“Your ability to turn challenges into opportunities is truly admirable. We have every reason to celebrate you today, because your transformation drive has brought the state to national and global prominence with many laudable initiatives and partnerships that are now yielding positive results in various sectors of Benue economy.
“Happy Birthday! Your Excellency, you are truly a special gift to the state and a beacon of inspiration for us all. May your birthday mark the beginning of a new chapter filled with even greater successes and fulfillment.
“We pray that the Almighty God will continue to uphold, keep and strengthen you for His glory and to the benefit of humanity. Congratulations and happy birthday!, Ode stated”.
On his part, the MD/CEO, BIPC, Dr Raymond Asemakaha, on behalf of the management and staff of the company, said  the governor had so far demonstrated visionary leadership, tireless efforts, and unwavering commitment to the transformation of Benue State.
Governor  Alia’s exemplary governance and dedication to the welfare of the people are truly inspiring, stressing that this milestone birthday marks the beginning of another remarkable year filled with wisdom, good health, and unparalleled success.

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CBN Unveils Strategy to Boost Remittances

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has activated plans to double foreign-currency remittance flows through formal channels by granting 14 new International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) Approval-in-Principle (AIP).
This was disclosed in Abuja on Wednesday, by the Bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Mrs.

Hakama Sidi Ali, who stated that the initiative will help increase the sustained supply of foreign exchange in the official market by promoting greater competition and innovation amongst IMTOs to lower the cost of remittance transactions and boost financial inclusion.

She said, “This will spur liquidity in Nigeria’s Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEX), augmenting price discovery to enable a market-driven fair value for the naira.

“It will be recalled that the CBN Governor, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, had recently declared: “We’ve set ourselves a target to double remittance flows into Nigeria within a year, a goal I firmly believe is within reach.
“We are wasting no time driving progress to remove any bottlenecks hindering flows through formal channels permanently. We have a determined pathway and a sequenced approach to tackling all challenges ahead, working hand in hand with key stakeholders in the remittance industry,” she stated.
Continuing, Sidi Ali, said that the CBN viewed increasing formal remittance flows—one of the major sources of foreign exchange, accounting for over 6% of GDP—as a means of reducing the historical volatility in Nigeria’s exchange rate caused by external factors, such as fluctuations in foreign investment and oil export proceeds.
The increase in the number of IMTOs is one of the primary actions initiated by the CBN’s remittance task force, overseen by Governor Cardoso as a collaborative unit pulling together specialists to work closely with the private sector and market operators to facilitate the ease of doing business in the remittance ecosystem in Nigeria.
The task force was established as a direct result of an executive learning session with IMTOs during the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings held in Washington DC, United States of America, in April 2024. The task force will meet regularly to implement strategy and monitor the impact of its measures on remittance inflows.

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