REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, ACTING PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE SWEARING-IN CEREMONY OF NEWLY APPOINTED FEDERAL PERMANENT SECRETARIES, AT THE STATE HOUSE COUNCIL CHAMBERS ON WEDNESDAY AUGUST 16, 2017.
May I congratulate you on your appointments as Federal Permanent Secretaries and may I also extend the warm felicitations of the President, Commander-In-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari to you on this very auspicious occasion.
You are here today after a rigorous selection process undertaken by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and her team of retired Heads of Service, Permanent Secretaries, seasoned technocrats and members of the organized private sector.
In other words your appointment, on a state by state basis is on merit, and you are here today being presented to this nation as the best that our civil service can offer.
You come into office at a crucial moment in our national history. First we are at the cusp of a radical economic recovery and growth effort that has as its core the implementation of a comprehensive diversification of the Nigerian economy.
We are also implementing a major reform of our public finance system, emphasizing integrity and fiscal prudence. These reforms are being effected in the context of our determined anti-corruption programme and these efforts cannot succeed without a competent and committed civil service corps led by your good selves.
As part of that reform effort four executive orders have been signed and I will just quickly summarize them.
Executive Order 001 is on the promotion of transparency and efficiency in the Business Environment - to ensure that public servants offer prompt service in a predictable and transparent manner, and sanction undue delays.
Executive Order 002 is on prompt submission of annual budgetary estimates by all statutory and non-statutory agencies of the Federal Government including incorporated companies wholly owned by FG. The deadline for this is on or before end of July.
Executive Order 003 on support for local content in public procurement by Ministries, Departments & Agencies of the Federal Government to promote patronage for Made-in-Nigeria goods and services.
Executive Order 004 is on the Voluntary Assets & Income Declaration Scheme to provide an opportunity for taxpayers who are in default under all relevant statutes to voluntarily declare their assets and income and pay taxes on them while avoiding payments of interests and penalties.
These Executive Orders and several other government directives are meant to ensure that the reform programme of the Federal Government succeeds. Your role in it cannot be overemphasized.
Your role is not just in providing direction, and providing leadership but also in the training of the core of the civil service that is under your care and charge. We expect that Permanent Secretaries will be the drivers of the implementation of the Executive Orders. And this is why a training programme has been undertaken in order to do so and it is a continuous programme of training.
Your coming into office at this particular time is a good signal and I believe very strongly that it will be an opportunity for a reset in some cases of projects and programmes that up till now may not have been fully completed.
It is also important to emphasize that this government is committed to an anti-corruption programme. It is easy to speak about corruption and to speak about anti-corruption programmes. But we want to emphasize that we do not believe that any nation can survive at the levels of corruption that we have witnessed in our country in the past years.
It is completely impossible to implement government policies or programmes or to ensure that the benefits of economic programmes, the benefits even of democracy, ever reach the ordinary man if corruption remains at the levels that it has been in the previous years.
This is why our commitment to corruption is not just a glib reference, it is not just glib talk; it is important, it is crucial, as a matter of fact, as the President has said - “if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us”. It is your responsibility as Federal Permanent Secretaries especially this new corps of Federal Permanent Secretaries, chosen and selected on merit to ensure that you carry out in the fullest measure all of the anti-corruption programmes of this government, and to ensure also that by your practice and in your conduct you are also above board.
Before I go on to announce the postings of the Federal Permanent Secretaries, let me again emphasize that the process of the appointment of Permanent Secretaries is one that was conducted in the fairest possible way and I hope that this is the way that we will continue to conduct these processes by rigorous process of examination and test that will bring up the very best that this country can offer. I want to again congratulate you and congratulate members of your families for this great attainment and I hope and pray that your tenure will be extremely successful.
We also have with us in the cabinet two ministers who were sworn-in a couple of weeks ago and I have the pleasure to announce that the two ministers will be posted to two critical ministries which require their expertise.
Prof. Steven Ocheni will be assigned the portfolio of Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, and Mr Suleiman Hassan will be assigned the Portfolio of the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing.
The posting of the Permanent Secretaries, Mrs. Anagbogu Ifeoma Nkiruka, Women Affairs; Mrs. Walson-Jack Didi Esther, Service Welfare Office in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation; Gekpe Grace Isu, Information and Culture; Aliboh Leon Lawrence, Budget and National Planning; Uwaifo Osarenoma Clement, Ministry of Health; Afolayan Ayodele Olaniyi, Common Services, Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation; Abdullahi Abdulazeez Mashi, Ministry of Communications; Adebiyi Bolaji Adekunle, Labour and Employment; Ibrahim Musa Wen, Water Resources; Odewale Samson Olajide, Special Duties, Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation; Adesola Olusade, Youth and Sports Development; Umar Mohammed Bello, Special Services Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Aduda Gabriel Tanimu, Politcal Affairs Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation; and Akpan Edet Sunday is to resume duty in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment on October 1. Ehuria Georgina Ekeoma, Cabinet Affairs Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.