Tinubu holds perm secs responsible for slowing down governance

President Tinubu said the service was slowing down implementation of his administration’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

He decried non-implementation of the administration’s well-intended programmes.

The President described as shocking that timelines for approved policies have deliberately been kept in abeyance by civil servants.

A visibly angry Tinubu berated top civil servants during a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

At the parley were Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), Accountant-General of the Federation, Auditor-General of the Federation and federal permanent secretaries.

He ordered leadership of the service to double up their efforts.

The President said the proper thing for civil servants to do whenever they have reservations about any policy, programme or initiative is to offer suggestions.

Armed with facts and figures, Tinubu queried why the civil service was “abysmally slow in carrying out his people-oriented programmes.”

He listed some of the programmes being dragged down by the civil service as: the N25,000 wage award to workers and the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Initiative (Pi-CNG).

He faulted the civil service attitude to the reform package designed to create jobs and boost the economy.

Some of the reform programmes include provision of a single-digit loan of N1billion to 75 enterprises; N50,000 grant each for 1,300 Nano businesses; N75 billion for 100,000 businesses and startups; and the investment of N100 billion in gas-powered buses for mass transit.

The President said the reforms have not been implemented by the civil service.

A source told The Nation last night: “President Tinubu was angry with those at the top in the civil service and he did not hide his feelings.

“At a point during the meeting, the President expressed shock that the civil service failed to implement the N25, 000 Wage Award for workers since October until he placed a call from the AU Meeting in Ethiopia.

“The President told the top civil servants: ‘I am unhappy with the pace of work. The civil service is slowing down my Renewed Hope Agenda.’

“He said the civil service has not been responding ‘positively’ to the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.

“He complained that some of the approvals and programmes have not been implemented.

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“He expressed concerns that the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Initiative (Pi-CNG) is being slowed down by the dilly-dally excuses by civil servants on the Procurement Act.”

Another source said it was the first time the President would open up on the poor attitude of the civil service to his administration.

The source quoted President Tinubu as saying: “We swore to an oath and we made a pledge to the country and that God should help us. Governance should make impact on the lives of our people.

“If everybody does what is expected of him or her, our nation will be better.” He was really emotional.”

The source added: “The President told the civil servants to double up. He also called for more of such meetings in the future to iron out issues.”

The President added: “If there are government policies that civil servants do not agree with, they should come up with suggestions.”

A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, said the President tasked the top civil servants to rededicate themselves to their duties and work towards improving the lives of Nigerians by acting with dispatch on matters that border on citizens’ welfare.

The statement said President Tinubu warned that the ineffectiveness and unnecessary bureaucracy that delay interventions in the economy and with programmes targeting vulnerable citizens would not be tolerated.

He directed that a monthly briefing by the Head of Service and submission of key performance indicator (KPI) reports should be made to his office for review, and that quarterly interactive meetings between the President and the Body of Permanent Secretaries will now be scheduled.

The statement reads: “The Head of Service and the Body of Permanent Secretaries have been mandated by the President to consistently measure progress in actualising the Renewed Hope Agenda of his administration.”

The President was quoted as saying: “Before the next meeting, I want to see progress in the civil service.

“I have been sending people to check the level of work that gets done. Service to the nation is extremely important. We are to change the narrative on Nigeria.

“You and I can change the perception about Africa, not just Nigeria. We might not get it 100 percent right, but if we are focused, I think we can totally change and reshape the trajectory of our country in the right direction.”

President Tinubu asked public servants to always think and work with a generational understanding of their role in shaping national history, knowing that they serve as the engine room of the government and that their actions will affect more than 200 million people home and abroad.

The President added: “Let us make our children’s dreams come true. Why are we slowing that down? It is not just shameful. It is unacceptable.

“We pledged to bring our people out of poverty. You should not increase their vulnerability. Help Nigerians to get out of these problems; do not compound the tough situation with unacceptable delays.”

Briefing State House reporters after the meeting, HoCSF, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, said the permanent secretaries assured the President of their commitment to the success of the Renewed Hope Agenda and realisation of his administration’s goal.

The Permanent Secretaries have also reassured him that they are his foot soldiers.

She said: “The meeting went very well; it gave us an opportunity to have a chat with Mr. President. The permanent secretaries had been wanting to have an opportunity to have some time with the President and this gave a very good opportunity.

“Mr. President also used the opportunity to charge the permanent secretaries to redouble their efforts to ensure that the Renewed Hope Agenda becomes a reality. So, it was a successful meeting.

“Mr. President has given us a double-match order to ensure that all the projects and programmes that are domiciled in the ministries become a reality to Nigerian citizens.

“The permanent secretaries have also given him the reassurance that that’s why they are there, that they are his foot soldiers in the ministries and that they will work tirelessly.”

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