A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress [APC] in Kaduna State, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to sack non-performing ministers.
Baba-Ahmed gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Kaduna, yesterday.
He also urged the president to quickly push through, policies that will reduce the high level of poverty in the country.
“If you go by the opinion of a lot of Nigerians, some of the ministers are just filling space. There is a case to be made for the argument that the president should critically assess his ministers and remove those he believes have not performed as well as they should. Replace them with people who will bring greater energy, greater vibe and greater imagination in managing scarcity and high expectations in the context in which we live.” Baba-Ahmed also said the level of poverty in Nigeria requires urgent solution, adding that government should continue to mobilise resources to tackle the problem. What the government can do is what I think it is doing, trying to come up with policies that, in the short time, can alleviate the crushing poverty. There are a lot of people who feed only once a day; there is a lot of hunger, frustration and bitterness. If we have N500 billion in the Presidency now waiting to be disbursed, one would like to see an imaginative and productive use of that money, so that it reaches people that need it to feed, pay school fees.” pay medical bills, rent and to go to places where they can earn a living.
“Government must mobilize resources directly and make sure that it gets to the people.
“In the longer term, we need bold and imaginative policies that should reposition and restructure the economy, to reduce dependence on oil.”
On the performance of President Buhari, the former APC state chairman said “one year is long enough to assess people and too short to actually pass judgment”.
He however said a lot had been achieved by the President in some key areas, but that there was room for improvement.
“I will say yes, he has done well in the area of fighting security, he has done well in terms of signaling his intention to fight corruption, and has many challenges in managing economic recession.
“He can do a lot better in terms of the quality of people he works with, the quality of his policies and his ability to work with a political platform to engineer and sustain public confidence.”
The chieftain, who was a retired federal permanent secretary, called for caution on the desirability or otherwise of obtaining about $30 billion loan by the Federal Government for infrastructure development.
“I don’t think that there is anything wrong in getting the loan, however, I do think that we should draw appropriate lessons from the past.
“We borrowed money in the past and we paid a huge amount of interest and we haven’t seen the benefit directly from those loans that we repaid.
“I think that this particular loan has to be secrutized, has to be rigorously interrogated by the National Assembly, and if they are convinced, then we should go ahead and get it.
“What is important is that the President needs to improve the manner he engages Nigerians in explaining to them why he needs to borrow $30 billion dollars, what are the benefits, what are the possible draw backs.
“Because this money, as I said before, is been borrowed for our children not for ourselves, it is important that we don’t leave them a legacy of huge debt.”
He further advised that more efforts be put to enhance the management of the nation’s economy.
“There is room for improvement in terms of thinking through key policies, monetary, economic policies that are relevant to the peculiar nature of recession in Nigeria.”