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Inauguration: New ministers upbeat on performance

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The new ministers, who were sworn-in by President Muhammadu Buhari, have expressed optimism on delivering on their mandates.

Some of the ministers spoke with State House correspondents after their inauguration on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Sen. Chris Ngige, who was returned as the Minister of Labour and Employment, said that it was a good home coming for him as he hoped for better working relations with labour unions.

“I expect better work; I will align with labour in their legitimate struggles.

“There is no job that does not have hazards; what happened at the last moment was part of the hazards of the job.

“There is nothing like crisis; we are a family; we had family disagreement and we have resolved them; we are in good term,’’ he said.

On the stalemate about the implementation of the minimum wage, Ngige said it would be resolved immediately.

He however explained that there were intricacies of minimum wage negotiations which would be sorted out.

“We know what a good template will be for government at federal, states and local governments, and for the workers themselves; we want them to smile; so, we must do something that put smile on their faces.

“We are bringing a template that we will send down from the Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

“We will agree on it with the Joint Negotiating Council; my permanent secretary held forth while I was away; he will brief me and we will take it from there,’’ the minister said.

On his part, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, the new Minister of Mines and Steel Development, said that President Buhari had set an agenda from the 2-day retreat.

He said he would put in his best and deliver on his mandate for Nigerians.

“In line with three-point agenda of the President which of course economic development, there is a lot of potential in mineral resources which of course we can exploit further to diversify from oil.

“Also, we want to lift people out of poverty; we will begin to encourage our people to add value to the minerals instead of just sending the minerals raw like that.

“Add value to it and make money from it and of course the third agenda is anti-corruption; we will try and do this as transparently as possible,’’ he said.

For George Akume, the new Minister of Special Duties, it was a rare privilege to be selected to serve in a country of over 200 million people.

“What I have to say at this stage is that all the ministers are committed to the success of this administration.

“Nigerians are expecting so much from us; we cannot afford to fail and I believe by the grace of God, we shall not fail,’’ he said.

Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said the ministry under her would work to sustain the Nigerian economy on the part of growth.

She said that the ministry would try its best to make sure that the economy was sustained on the path of growth and prevent fiscal crisis.

Ahmed said that her focus would be on the economy.

On combining finance, budget and national planning, the minister said that she had worked with budget and national planning therefore combining both tasks would not pose a challenge to her.

“There are competent persons on both sides that will support me in my work.

“I will be co-coordinating both the budget and planning work as well as that of finance.

“So, I am sure that we are going to do well,” she said.

Buhari had during the swearing-in urged the 43 ministers to collectively build a safer, more prosperous and fair nation.

CJ/MST

Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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