ANALYSIS: Buhari’s ministers’ scorecard after two years (Concluding Part)

Pic 19. FEC MEETING
FILE PHOTO: FEC MEETING: From left: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; President Muhammadu Buhari; Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN); Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe and Minister of Stste for Agriculture, Sen Heinekaen Lokpobiri during the Federal Executive Council Meeting in Abuja on Wednesday (20/12/17) /20/12/2017/Callistus Ewelike/NAN

November 2017 marked two years since most ministers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet assumed office.

PREMIUM TIMES, in 2016 reviewed the performances of the ministers after their first year in office with many of them getting average scores.

Two years down the line, this newspaper, again, in three earlier reports assessed the performances of 18 ministers based on their promises before they assumed office.

Read the first, second and third part of the report herehere and here.

Here is the midterm scorecard of the final set of ministers in this concluding report.

Foreign Affairs

Minister: Geoffrey Onyema

State Minister: Khadijat Bukar Ibrahim

Promises:

-To reform and rationalise Nigeria’s foreign embassies and consulates.

-To improve global business relations for Nigerians.

-Cooperation with neighbouring states and the African Union to fight terrorism in Nigeria.

-Support the implementation of relevant international instruments on anti-corruption and illicit funds transfers across international borders, especially within the framework of the ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations.

-To make Nigeria’s foreign policy thrust focus on security, governance (anti-corruption) and the economy.

Achievements:

-Nigeria has improved its relations with nations of the world. It is partnering with other countries to guarantee free movement of people to boost economic potentials of Africa.

-Prompt reaction to the reports of slave trade and imprisonment of Nigerians in Libya. Summoned Nigeria’s charge d’Affairs in Tripoli, Libya, over the ongoing reports of trading of Nigerians in the North African country.

-Repatriation of Nigerians trapped in Libya with the assistance and provision of logistics from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the European Union.

-Taking a definite stand on the status of Taiwan. The minister declared that “Taiwan will not have any diplomatic representation in Nigeria and asked the Tawian trade office in Abuja to move to Lagos and “function as a trade mission with skeletal staff.”

-Election of Nigerian representatives into various world organisations. They include the UN Human Rights Council, Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). The elections show that Nigeria enjoys a lot of goodwill across the world.

Failures:

-Despite promises of reform and rationalisation, most of the 110 Nigerian missions and embassies abroad are still a national embarrassment as they still groan under financial difficulties. Some of them have not paid salaries for months and are owing huge debts.

-Looted funds belonging to Nigeria are still trapped in foreign banks, including the Abacha’s loot.

-Slow response to the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa prompting the Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa to take up the challenge, some say illegally. Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa also issued travel advisory urging caution for Nigerians travelling to the U.S. All this drew the ire of the minister.

-Slow response when President Trump of the U.S signed his first executive order widely interpreted in some quarters as potentially curtailing the tenure and cost of U.S. visas for Nigerians.

Score: Average

Finance

Minister: Kemi Adeosun

Promises:

-With the economy in recession, since 2016, the Finance Ministry’s focus in 2017 was on diversifying the country’s economic base, promoting private enterprise, and increasing revenue generation.

She said, “It is my firm belief that the pursuit of economic diversification through promotion of private enterprises is one of the ways we can unlock the untapped socio-economic potentials for social progress, economic growth and national development.”

-The Budget Office of the Federation under the ministry promised in August that the 2018 Executive Budget proposal would be submitted to the National Assembly in October.

Achievements:

– Exit from recession.

-The FIRS increased its tax revenue generation to about N2.11 trillion between January and July 2017.

-Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, realised the highest revenue collection ever of about N1.012 trillion in December 2017.

-N100 billion SUKUK Bond issued to complete 25 key economic road projects in the six geopolitical zones of the country, to ease commuting, spur economic activities, and further close the infrastructural gap across the country.

-About N168 billion saved from proposed $5.5 billion borrowing plan to refinance federal government legacy debt.

-Payment of the Paris Club Loan Refunds to the 36 States of the Federation.

-Discounts of between five and 50 per cent by the Efficiency Unit from 17 airlines on local and foreign travels by all Ministries, Departments and agencies, MDAs.

-Implementation of the Efficiency Units and enrolment of MDAs on Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS, saved government N206 billion in payroll costs by removing 54,000 fraudulent entries using technology.

-Introduction of a Price Checker, a web-based platform for the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, for vendors to upload prices of their goods, to ensure transparency and eliminating sharp practices in the procurement process.

-Establishment of the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit, PICA, to validate controls, assess risks, prune personnel cost, ensure compliance with public financial management reform, and detect errors, to ensure full accountability of all public funds expended under the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration.

-Prosecution of nine workers from various MDAs accused of being behind 50,000 ghost workers removed from the Federal Government Payroll.

-The release of N54 billion to the National Pension Commission for payment to retirees for accumulated pension benefits for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

-Establishment of the Development Bank of Nigeria, DBN, and release of $1.3 billion take-off grant, to spur the growth of micro, small and medium Enterprises, MSMEs, growth.

-Launching of Asset Tracking and Management Project, ATM Project, to locate, identify, assess and evaluate all its moveable and immoveable Federal Government assets.

-Creation of a Central Asset Register for recording the actual quantity, value, condition and location of all Federal Government capital assets.

-Launching N13 billion Federal Civil Servants Mortgage Refinancing Scheme through the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company, NMRC, to refinance mortgages for 5,635 beneficiaries of the Federal Government Workforce. Housing under construction in Nasarawa, Ogun, Edo and Enugu States.

-Establishment of InfraCredit, a private Infrastructure Credit Enhancement Company, working with the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA, to help address existing constraints in the supply of local financing to infrastructure projects and help the development of the local financial markets.

-Launching of the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme, VAIDS, by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, for privileged Nigerians to voluntarily regularise their tax status, fetched about N23 billion in December.

-Over 3,000 properties in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, sealed off for allegedly defaulting in filing annual tax returns to the FIRS.

-The Whistleblowers Policy has harvested over 2,150 petitions and 337 tips, which led to the recovery of about N11.64 billion of assets illegally acquired by various individuals, while about N375.8 million has so far been released for the payment of the first batch of 20 informants.

-The minister was appointed as the Chairman, Board of Governors of the 15 member-states of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, EBID, at the end of the 15th Ordinary meeting of the Board of governors of the bank in Abuja.

-Auditing of tax records of over 800,000 public firms, contractors, companies, including those that have never paid taxes before.

-Commencement of the release of N750 billion capital budget for the 2017 appropriation to ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs.

-Suspension of the Director General of the Securities & Exchange Commission, SEC, for alleged financial impropriety, corruption and abuse of office.

Failures

-Failure to take off of the planned luxury tax policy on first class tickets on airline travels, luxury coaches and other luxury goods, including luxury goods like champagne, brandy, whisky, wine, jewellery, and high-end jewellery.

-Inability to publish names and details of monies recovered from politicians and former public office holders.

-Untidy payment of commission to the whistle-blower that gave information leading to the recovery of sums of money totalling N13 billion from Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, which left Nigerians in the dark.

Score: Good

Women Affairs

Minister: Aisha Alhassan

Promises:

-To serve as the national vehicle to bring about the speedy and healthy development of Nigerian women, children, the socially disadvantaged and physically challenged, and the mainstreaming of their rights and privileges in the national development process.

Achievements

-Initiating and launching of the Year of Action to End Violence against Children by 2030, National SDGs Campaign, the End Child Marriage etc.

-Inauguration of Child Protection sub-working group to ensure humanitarian actors’ commitment to standard and best practices for child protection in emergencies particularly in the North-eastern part of Nigeria.

-Put together a Social Investment Intervention Programme – Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program (GEEP) and the National Women Empowerment Fund, NAWEF, which is implemented by the ministry in collaboration with the Bank of Industry.

The GEEP is a micro-credit programme for the men and women, out of which the sum of N1.6 billion has been set aside for women only while NAWEF is to serve as a dedicated micro-credit scheme in those communities hit by the insurgency in rebuilding their lives and communities with about 80,000 women benefitting.

-Initiating skills acquisition training program for women, youth, widows and dropouts of school.

Failures

-Violence against women on the rise. Reports say around 50 per cent of women say they are victims to domestic violence. A recent study conducted says up to two-thirds of women in certain communities in Lagos have experienced physical, sexual or psychological violence in the family and in other areas.

-Gender disparity in income in Nigeria is still an issue. In many cases, Nigerian women earn from their jobs lower than their male counterparts.

-Child marriage unabated. It is estimated that 43 per cent of girls in Nigeria are married off before their 18th birthday while 17 per cent are married before they turn 15. Seventy per cent of this occur in Northwest zone and 10 per cent in the South-east zone.

-The illiteracy rate of Nigerian women is still high. According to World Data Atlas, the illiteracy level of the female youth is 62.1 per cent, adult female 61. 4 per cent and elderly female 59.5 per-cent.

-The practice of female circumcision known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is still ongoing despite a law signed by former President Jonathan banning the exercise. About 20 million Nigerian women and girls, according to End FGM Guardian Global Media Campaign, have undergone mutilation. The ministry has not mounted a strong campaign against the practice.

-Sex trafficking industry is still thriving. The trafficking of Nigerian women from Libya to Italy and who are forced into prostitution across Europe has reached an alarming level, according to UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Although the figure for 2017 is not available, that of Nigerian women who arrived by sea in Europe was 1,500 in 2014 and 5,633 in 2015. More than 85 per cent of these women came Edo state.

Score: Average

Justice

Minister: Abubakar Malami

Promises:

-Initiate major reforms in the Justice Sector.

-Release the list of suspected treasury looters to the public in line with an order given by a Federal High Court in Lagos ordering the Buhari administration to release information about public officials who allegedly looted the nation’s treasury. The minister however said due process must be followed.

-To reinvigorate the ministry and the other anti-corruption agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and the Nigeria Police Force.

-To strengthen international bonds with Nigeria’s partners.

-To ensure the implementation of the FoI Act.

Achievements

-Continued the trial of corrupt officials including judges.

-Recovered N57.9 billion as well as $666.676 from fines, corporate organisations and corrupt individuals.

-Concluded negotiation with Switzerland on the return of $321 million Abacha loot. Mr. Malami had earlier in the year told the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters that government had recovered a total of N15 billion and $10.5 million from looters.

-Concluded a 2014 case of culpable homicide involving two accused persons. First accused, Ifeanyi Nwaimo, got a death sentence.

-Inaugurated presidential committee on prisons decongestion in October, similar to a previous one in 2013 by a presidential committee.

-Secured an Appeal Court order for the retrial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki for false asset declaration.

-Released a report on the usage of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act. It said in the report that six years after, the Nigerian public had not made sufficient use of the Act. For instance, in 2016, the report said 20 out of 54 public institutions that submitted their reports had no request for information that year while five received just one request. The remaining 29 received multiple requests with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning having the highest request at 77.

Failures:

-In its nearly three years old tenure so far, the administration has been unable to secure a conviction in a major corruption case.

-Crisis between the justice ministry and Nigeria’s major anti-graft agency the EFCC hits public domain, September when both agencies accuse each other of leaking investigation details to the media.

-Allegation of one-sided anti-corruption war still persist.

-Mr. Malami was enmeshed in the scandalous return of fugitive former boss of pension task force team, Abdulrasheed Maina. The minister, while testifying at the House of Representatives, denied sending a letter to the Office of the Head of Service demanding the recall of the former chairman of the presidential pension task team. While Mr. Malami denied facilitating Mr. Maina’s reinstatement, the chairman of the Federal Civil Service, Joseph Akande, said the AGF blackmailed the commission into the re-absorbing former chairman of the presidential pension task team.

– The notorious record of disobeying court orders has improved, but exceptions persist.

– Leader of Shiite group, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, remains in custody despite court rulings against.

– Former NSA Dasuki still held in extended detention.

Score: Average

Environment

Minister: Ibrahim Usman Jibril

Promises:

-The ministry, stakeholders and development partners will work towards the execution of the Ogoni project (adding that specimens have been taken for analysis).

-The ministry, as well as waste management authorities across states in Nigeria, would seek ways to generate wealth from waste collection activities.

-To formulate policies that will regulate the environment sector as well as implement programmes and projects that will conserve and preserve the nation’s natural resources.

-To address the concerns of climate change, drought and desertification, biodiversity loss, deforestation, land degradation, flood and erosion, pollution, sanitation and waste management.

-The ministry, as well as the federal government, will do a full clean-up of the oil pollution in the Niger Delta and other areas that are equally polluted due to one economic activity or the other.

-To ensure that the environment sector becomes a major revenue earner for the country.

-That the ministry would step up actions towards creating a synergy with relevant MDAs through Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) in order to resolve serious challenges of overlap, conflict, and duplication of regulatory roles.

-To create a synergy between the federal and state governments in the implementation of climate change programmes especially on capacity building and access to global climate finance.

-That the ministry and states would establish reliable electronic-based data bank on Pollution Control and Waste Management issues in the country.

Achievements:

-Repositioned the ministry to ‘fit-for-purpose’ which delivers on addressing the socio-economic and environmental issues and concerns of poverty, food security, environmental health and sanitation, renewable energy, green economy, sustainable consumption and production, climate change, oceans and eco-systems restoration in the Niger Delta as well as Lake Chad basin and the Hadejia-Nguru wetlands in the North-east.

-The National Council on Environment (NCE), under the ministry of environment, recommended a ban on the exportation of charcoal in Nigeria.

-The ministry resolved to domesticate Minamata Convention on Mercury and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) ratified by Nigeria.

-Flagged-off a Climate Change Knowledge Immersion Workshop in Ogun State.

Failures: 

-Cleanup of Ogoniland, which was inaugurated in June 2016, is yet to take off. The major thing that has been done is the inauguration of the governing council and a Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Trust Fund for the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP).

-About 104 snakes of different species, geckos, lizards, millipedes, centipedes, spiders and hairy frogs impounded by officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Services which were being smuggled into Nigeria from Cameroon and were meant for Luxemburg as their final destination.

-Desertification persists as about 105,000sq.km to 136,500sq.km landmass have been lost to drought and desertification in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Bauch, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi states also known as the frontline states.

-The farmlands which is more than half the size of China have been completely abandoned due to drought, desertification and poor land mismanagement.

-Yet to establish the electronic-based data bank on Pollution Control and Waste Management issues in the country.

Score: Average

Mines & Steel Development

Minister: Kayode Fayemi

State Minister: Bawa Bwari

Promises/Target

-Build a world-class minerals and mining ecosystem for domestic and export minerals and ores market.

-Reposition mining sector as the frontier of government’s economic diversification agenda.

-De-risk and attract investment and development funding to the mining sector.

-Create a conducive environment to support mining enterprises to thrive.

-Increase mining sector contribution to Nigeria’s gross domestic product, GDP.

Achievements

-During the year, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, NBS, said the mining sector grew by 2.24 per cent in the second quarter.

-Apart from a 300 per cent increase in revenue (royalties and fees) between 2015 and 2016, the sector surpassed it entire revenue of over N2 billion generated for the whole of 2016, with over N3.5 billion earning.

-The N5 billion Nigerian Solid Minerals Development Fund, NSMDF, was launched in conjunction with the Bank of Industry, BOI, to provide single digit interest loans to mining projects in Nigeria.

-Approval received to access to N30 billion from the Natural Resources Intervention Fund, NRIF, for the promotion of exploration of new minerals and to strengthen the Ministry’s regulatory capacity.

-Secured a $150 million World Bank loan to support ministry’s mineral sector support for economic diversification programme.

-Planning with the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA; Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, and others, for a $600 million investment fund for the sector.

-Improvement in the Mining Cadastre office’s capacity to regularly issue licenses to applicants in line with the Nigerian Mining and Minerals Act, 2007.

-Signed a ‘Modified Concession Agreement’ between Nigeria and Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited, GINL, to end the protracted litigations over the ownership of Ajaokuta Steel Company, ASC, and Nigeria Iron Ore Mining Company, NIOMCO.

Failures

-Refusal to respect the rule of law: The ministry refused to obey the July 6, 2012 ruling of the Supreme Court on the 13 years ownership dispute over the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria, ALSCON, between the Russian firm, UC RUSAL, and the Nigerian-American consortium, BFI Group.

-Accused by the Atta Omadivi ruling Family of Okene in Kogi State of “desperate, reckless, irresponsible and partisan conduct” in respect of the ownership tussle between BUA Group and Dangote Group for the control of Mining Lease, ML 2541.

-Failed to completely end illegal mining in the country.

Score: Good

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