President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that severe consequences await any of the nation revenue-generating agencies that failed to achieve agreed revenue targets.
The president gave the warning in his Independence Day address to mark Nigeria’s 59th Independence Anniversary in Abuja on Tuesday.
He further warned that the revenue-generating and reporting agencies would come under much greater scrutiny so as to achieve the desired goals.
“With this, our revenue-generating and reporting agencies will come under much greater scrutiny, going forward, as the new performance management framework will reward exceptional revenue performance, while severe consequences will attend failures to achieve agreed revenue targets,’’ he said.
Buhari explained that he recently constituted an Economic Advisory Council to advise him on inclusive and sustainable macroeconomic, fiscal and monetary policies.
He said the Council would work with “relevant Cabinet members and the heads of key monetary, fiscal and trade agencies to ensure we remain on track as we strive for collective prosperity’’.
However, the president stated that his administration was also committed to ensure that the inconvenience associated with “any painful policy adjustments, is moderated, such that the poor and the vulnerable, who are most at risk, do not bear the brunt’’.
Buhari assured that the government ongoing N500 billion Special Intervention Programme would continue to target these vulnerable groups.
He said this would be achieved through the Home-grown School Feeding Programme, Government Economic Empowerment Programme, N-Power Job Creation Programme, loans for traders and artisans, Conditional Cash Transfers to the poorest families and social housing scheme.
“To institutionalise these impactful programmes, we created the Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development which shall consolidate and build on our achievements to date.
“To the beneficiaries of these programmes, I want to reassure you that our commitment to social inclusion will only increase,’’ he added.
The president also observed that the nation’s population growth rate had remained among the highest in the world, presenting both challenges as well as opportunities.
“It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we provide adequate resources to meet the basic needs of our teeming youth.
“Accordingly, we shall continue to invest in education, health, water and sanitation, as well as food security, to ensure that their basic needs are met, while providing them with every opportunity to live peaceful, prosperous and productive lives,’’ he maintained.
Buhari also declared that his administration made remarkable progress in the agriculture value chain, from fertilizers to rice, to animal feed production towards the Nation’s food security.
The president warned that the country must not “go back to the days of importing food and thereby exporting jobs’’.
He pledged that his administration would sustain its agricultural policies aimed at making the country self-sufficient in food production through massive investments in agriculture as well as the use of modern agricultural inputs and implements.
“We shall sustain these policies to ensure additional investments are channeled, thereby creating more jobs in the sector.
“We must not go back to the days of importing food and thereby exporting jobs,’’ he added.
Buhari observed that his administration’s commitment to achieving macroeconomic stability and economic diversification, had been underscored by the merger of the Ministry of Finance with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
“This combined Ministry has the important mandate to enhance the management of domestic and global fiscal risks; coordinate policies with the trade and monetary authorities; raise and deploy revenues to fund budgeted expenditure; and integrate annual budgets and medium-term fiscal strategies,’’ he said.
The President, who reiterated his call for unity across the diverse socio-ethnic groups in the country, expressed the hope that Nigeria would emerge from its “present challenges stronger and more resilient than ever’’.
He said: “Nigeria will emerge from our present challenges stronger and more resilient than ever – but only if all of us join hands to entrench Good Governance, foster Inclusive Economic Development, and defend and protect our Nation from all those who would wish us ill’’.