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Buhari pledges new reforms in key sectors

President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday pledged new reforms in the nation’s education, healthcare and water sanitation.

Buhari also promised that workers would have a living wage while pensioners would be looked after in a letter addressed to Nigerians to usher in 2020 and a new decade.

The president made the promise in a letter he issued through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Wednesday.

Buhari also reiterated the commitment of his administration to lay the enduring foundations for taking 100 million Nigerians out of mass poverty over the next 10 years.

“Today I restate that commitment. We shall continue reforms in education, healthcare and water sanitation. I have met international partners such as GAVI, the vaccine alliance, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who support our social welfare programmes.

“I will continue to work with State and Local Governments to make sure that these partnerships deliver as they should. Workers will have a living wage and pensioners will be looked after.

“We are steadily clearing pensions and benefits arrears neglected for so long,’’ he said.

The president stated that the new Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development would consolidate and build on the social intervention schemes.

He said it would also enhance the checks and balances necessary for this set of programmes to succeed for the long term.

He noted that the journey had already begun with the passage and signing into law of the 2020 Appropriation Act.

“As the new decade dawns, we are ready to hit the ground running.

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“Let me pay tribute to the Ninth National Assembly who worked uncommonly long hours to make sure that the 2020 budget scrutiny is both thorough and timely.

“The close harmony between the Executive and Legislature is a sharp contrast to what we have experienced in the recent past when the Senate kept the previous budget for seven months without good reason just to score cheap political points thereby disrupting the budgetary processes and overall economic development plans.’’

On power, Buhari stated that his administration had engaged extensively with stakeholders to develop a series of comprehensive solutions to improve the reliability and availability of electricity across the country.

He said that the administration had identified solutions to help separate parts of the value chain to work better together.

These solutions, according to him, include ensuring fiscal sustainability for the sector, increasing both government and private sector investments in the power transmission and distribution segments, improving payment transparency through the deployment of smart meters and ensuring regulatory actions maximise service delivery

“We have in place a new deal with Siemens, supported by the German government after German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited us in Abuja, to invest in new capacity for generation, transmission and distribution.

“These projects will be under close scrutiny and transparency – there will be no more extravagant claims that end only in waste, theft and mismanagement.

“The next 12 months will witness the gradual implementation of these actions, after which Nigerians can expect to see significant improvement in electricity service supply reliability and delivery.

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“Separately, we have plans to increase domestic gas consumption. In the first quarter of 2020, we will commence work on the AKK gas pipeline, OB3 Gas pipeline and the expansion of the Escravos–Lagos Pipeline,’’ he said.

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