The United Kingdom (UK), said that it had renewed its partnership with the Nigerian Government just as it has applauded the “big bold’ economic reforms of Tinubu’s administration.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Richard Montgomery, made this known at the opening of a three-day 2023 Cabinet Retreat for Ministers, Presidential Aides, Permanent Secretaries and Top government functionaries.
BRANDPOWER reports that the retreat with the theme, ” Delivering on the Renewed Hope Agenda,” was declared opened by President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday in Abuja.
Montgomery, who applauded the “big bold’ economic reforms of Tinubu’s administration, said Nigeria was faced with the big security, economic and social challenges.
He added, ” In a global context, the big challenges are difficult global economy, shifting geopolitical and foreign policy pressures.
”And as I said in public before, I applaud the big and bold economic reforms that you are taking forward.
” I admire your leadership of ECOWAS, your strong voice on democracy, and your G20 international engagement, all of which have thrust Nigeria back onto the international stage.
” I also wanted Mr President to use my goodwill message to confirm that the UK has renewed partnership with Nigeria and with your cabinet and with the Nigerian people.”
The envoy, who said Nigeria mattered to the UK, added that both countries shared history, commitment to democratic politics, interests in defence and security as well as trade and investment.
According to him, the Nigerian diaspora creative industries, the sports stars are increasingly central to the UK national culture and life.
” And we also have strong mutual accountability, development agreements at the federal and the state level, on health, on education on job creation, and on government effectiveness.
” And indeed, I’m here because the UK has had for some years now, an excellent partnership with the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF),”Montgomery said
He said the eight priorities under the renewed hope agenda of Tinubu provided a clarity of purpose.
According to Montgomery, policy advisory committees have identified plans, milestones and performance indicators that will be discussed at this retreat.
He said, ” And this cabinet retreat can start to use the SGS tracking system for good effect over the coming years to drive delivery to learn from challenges, and to move Nigeria forward.
” Mr President, no doubt there are challenges ahead. This government has inherited big problems and a tough global context.
” These are difficult times and people are hurting. Expectations are high. Better delivery is desperately needed.
” But over my long association with Nigeria, and wherever I go in this great country, I have seen the resilience of Nigerians by their creative and I can do attitude and by their entrepreneurial spirit.
” And I’m optimistic that your government, M President, with ambition and clear plans, can remove the constraints on this entrepreneurial spirit and give a helping hand to those people that need it and help move Nigeria forward.”
Montgomery said that UK recognised Nigeria as a growing regional and global powerhouse, adding that the country was likely to become the third largest country in the world by 2050.
He added, ” I applaud your plans to stabilise the economy and put it on a higher growth path to prosperity, on which so much else depends.
” The UK stands ready to support in the spirit of mutual respect. The UK stands ready to stand up on our partnerships across a range of areas.
” And I wish you and your government all best wishes and goodwill in your work ahead.”
Earlier, the SGF, George Akume, explained that the retreat was designed to prepare and sensitise Ministers and other participants on the workings and processes of government.
” This is with a view to ensuring Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) deliver on the presidential priorities of the renewed hope agenda for 2023 to 2017.
” The retreat will also provide opportunity to deepen the understanding of participants from best practices in conducting government business.
” More specifically, the retreat will focus on ensuring all members are abreast of essential governor processes relating to procurement, budgeting, anti corruption drive, Federal Executive Council.
” And the role of the ministers and permanent secretaries in managing their ministries,” he said.
Also, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr Shubham Chaudhuri, said the bank had committed and approved over 11 billion dollars in financing for the government at both federal and at sub national levels.
He said, ” Although we are at the World Bank, we’re a development organisation over the last three and a half four years that I have been here.
” Our board has committed, approved, over $11 billion in financing for the government, and our financing is meant to go for government at both the federal and at the sub national levels.
” So we’re here to support your programmes, we take guidance from you. But even though we have the word bank in our names, I hope you will think of us as more than a bank.
” I really hope is that you will trust us and that we will be able to earn your trust that we have something more to offer in the nature of solutions to help you think through.
” And then implement the priorities, the focus areas that you’ve laid out. By bringing in ideas and experience.”