By Adelola Amihere
As part of concerted efforts aimed at improving Nigeria’s economy in the wake of the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister of Finance, Budget and Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed has called on Special Advisors and `Technical Assistants to Federal Ministers to support their principals in the effective policy formulations and decisions towards the achieving the new National long term development plan.
Dr Ahmed stated this in her opening address to mark the beginning of a three- day capacity building for special Advisers and Technical Assistants to Ministers organized by Konrad -Adenauer -Stiftung (KAS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning which started yesterday in Abuja via a live virtual presentation.
She said, “Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Special Advisers, your work is critical for the post-COVID 19 Nigerian Economy. Our response to COVID-19 is designed to ensure necessary transformation and innovation in the fiscal space and beyond, as we work to lessen the impact of the resulting recession. We must look beyond the short term and ensure that policies and programmes developed under the current Administration are institutionalized and implemented. The training you will receive over the next 3 days, will help reinforce and further enable your work in Government.
“…A resilient and thriving Nigeria requires that we employ a whole-of-government approach, and that we work collaboratively across the Federal and State Government, and hand in hand with citizens, CSOs and the private sector. To be effective, particularly in this post-COVID 19 era, we must all be even more focused on delivering people-centered, cost-effective, and innovative results, and on ensuring that our work is institutionalized.
“Your job is very important. In supporting your Principals, you’re supporting the Civil Service and in turn supporting Government to achieve its goals. I encourage you to take full advantage of this capacity training programme, and to use this opportunity to develop new and strengthen existing collaborations across your respective Ministries. This will further strengthen your work and better position you to help drive the development and implementation of integrated policies and plans.”
Stressing further, she added that “Let me end by emphasizing that irrespective of your Ministerial mandate and specific role/function, you are all here to improve the lives of the Nigerian people. We must never lose sight of the fact that our work is first and foremost about people, and that so much depends on what we achieve during our time in Government. Each of you is a potential change agent embedded in the Federal Government System – amongst you are future Ministers, Governors, and Presidents. As such I encourage you to reflect on the type of work and legacy you want to leave behind.”
The Finance Minister also assured that Government will continue to make critical investments in key sectors including agriculture, infrastructure, health, and education while also working collaboratively across MDAs to “significantly reduce poverty and harness our demographic dividend in order to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth, partly through job creation and by enabling the private sector and prioritizing human capital development.”
Speaking earlier, the Resident Representative of KAS , Dr Vladimir Kreck in his welcome address noted that the decision to conduct a capacity building training for Special Advisers and Technical Assistants to Ministers falls its mandate to promote democratic and good governance and to foster good relations between Germany and host countries.
According to him,” Good governance translates everywhere in the world into respect for the rule of law, transparency, accountability, efficiency and equity. Good governance also translates when internalised and applied by government actors, into societal cohesion and economic development for the good of the people.”
While noting that the training will provide the requisite skills, knowledge and attitudes to ministerial aides that will help improve their performance, Dr Kreck pointed out that elements in the important preconditions of good governance such as process of strategic long term planning , the introduction of control mechanisms, the assessment of development as well as the re-assessment of achieved results have been included into the design of the seminar.
Participating in the first batch of the capacity building are Special Advisers and Technical Assistants from the Ministry of Finance , Budget and National Planning; Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Women Affairs and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development; Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Ministry of labour and Employment; Ministry of Education and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. All other Ministries are expected to follow in subsequent batches.