President Muhammadu Buhari has warned his incoming ministers over their trips abroad, stating that they must be restricted to only essential ones.
The president issued this warning over the weekend after the retreat he organised for his minister-designates where he also added that such trips must be related to their duties in strict adherence to the law.
According to The Nation, permanent secretaries are trying to prevail on the president to ensure that ministers make appointments of special advisers and special assistants from ministries, departments and agencies.
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They argued that the civil service has many untapped talents who can provide technical assistance for the new ministers, but the ministers were said to be skeptical of the proposal by the permanent secretaries.
The president further listed eleven key points the ministers must abide by to fit into his cabinet.
They include: "Foreign travels must be duty-related; ministers must operate within lean resources; no more flamboyance; strict adherence to the rule of law; compliance to Civil Service Rules; living above board; cooperation with permanent secretaries; no more rancour between ministers and ministers of state; appointment of some aides should be from the civil service; drastic reduction of vehicles in convoys; and all decisions must lead to change."
A source within the presidency said:"The ministers have been told to limit their foreign trips to only those that are duty-related, they must relate to their work. And all travels abroad must be approved by the President. No more travelling just for the sake of it.
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"As you have heard on Friday, they are expected to reduce the vehicles in their convoys to a reasonable level to save cost.
"The ministers are to do things differently in view of the lean resources at their disposal. Flamboyance and extravagance by cabinet members are gone.
"The Ministers have been given copies of the Civil Service Rules and Regulations. The President wants compliance with the document. He also warned against conflict with Permanent Secretaries.
"On the relationship between ministers and ministers of state, some guidelines have also been provided with a caveat that the President will not tolerate any rift or rancour."
The source also added that President Buhari repeatedly ordered the ministers to "adhere strictly to the Rule of Law because we are in a democracy.
"So, no more impunity or abuse of due process. Any infractions will be punished accordingly.
"Above all, decisions and actions by ministers must lead to change in the lives of Nigerians. This is the tallest benchmark the President reeled out to them."
Meanwhile, the ministers were said to be uncomfortable with the suggestions made by the permanent secretaries on how and where they should appoint their ministers from.
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"Ministers are suspicious of this proposal by the permanent secretaries who may use aides from the civil service to frustrate them or slow their pace.
"Some ministers, including some former governors and ministers, detest the slow rate at which civil servants respond to assignments. They said civil servants cannot be the vehicles for achieving the desired change.
"This is no doubt the first challenge at hand for ministers. What the ministers will do eventually is to have a blend of aides from the civil service and outside for efficiency," a highly-placed source in the presidency said.
President Buhari is expected to swear in his ministers on Wednesday, November 11.