Federal Government has saved over N120 billion from the stoppage of ghost workers and another N108 billion from bank charges due to implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday.
He spoke at the conferment of the National Productivity Order of Merit Award on 15 Nigerians and five companies, including the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita.
The President said programmes put in place by his administration has begun to yield fruits as shown in the decline of the rate of inflation to 12.5 per cent as at May 14.
He explained that the recession in 2016 was as a result of the over-dependence on a single commodity and the unprecedented looting of the nation’s treasury.
He added that the challenge before the government was how to sustain the recovery and ensure growth.
Buhari said: “As you are already aware, our country recently witnessed a tough economic period of recession attributed mainly to over-dependence on a single export commodity as well as the unprecedented looting of the treasury. With our determined efforts, we were able to exit recession. The challenge before us now is how to sustain the recovery and ensure growth.
“The Economic Recovery and Growth plan (ERGP) of this administration targets a seven per cent growth rate by 2020, driven by strong non-oil sector growth in agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing, information technology and services.
“Our aim is to change our narratives from an import dependent, consumption-driven and undiversified economy to a producing nation where we grow what we eat and consume what we make. Our effort in this regard is beginning to pay off as most indices by which an economy could be measured are looking bright.
“Our foreign reserve has risen to $47 billion as at April 9, 2018 as against $29.6 billion in May 2015. The inflation rate had dropped to 12.5 per cent as at May 14, 2018, making it the 15th consecutive month of fall. The implementation of the Treasury Single Account (ISA) has stopped the pilfering of the treasury.”
The president added: “Some N108 billion has been saved from bank charges. Over N120 billion has also been saved from the elimination of ghost workers in the public service. We have also made steady progress in our diversification programme, especially in agriculture and mining.
“The goal of this administration is to move Nigeria forward to become a strong, strategic and proactive state through a deliberate, pragmatic and productivity conscious programme of action.
“We want to rebuild Nigeria into a competitive, virile, strong and productive economy; a state whose citizens are creative, innovative, responsive, accountable, incorruptible, patriotic and diligent.
“The public service as the organ of government responsible for the formulation and implementation of government policies has a critical role to play in this new dispensation. Government will hold the public servants collectively and individually responsible for the planning and implementation of its programmes.”
He said his administration was committed to rewarding hard work and excellence.
“It is in this regard that we have placed great premium on the National Productivity Order of Merit (N POM) Award as an award of honour and dignity. We have, therefore, been consistent in the yearly conferment of the award on deserving Nigerians and organisations,” Buhari said.
He said the government approved the conferment of the National Productivity Order of Merit Award for 2018 on 15 individuals and five organisations.
He reminded Nigerians of the cardinal role of productivity to national economic growth.
“There is need for every Nigerian to develop a productivity mindset for continuous improvement. This would ensure total recovery and sustainable growth in all sectors of the economy,” the President said.
Minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris NGIGE said a total of 327 Nigerians and 80 organisations have so far been conferred with the award since its inception in 1991.
The minister said the nation’s developmental experience has so far proven that without higher level of productivity, the standard of living of Nigerians would remain abysmally low.
The importance of productivity, Ngige said, was further underscored by the fact that the world is now a global village, where goods and services of other nations can easily be accessed.
He said over the years, successive government in the country have attached great importance to improving the quality and quantity of goods and services available for consumption in Nigeria as a means of increasing total wealth.