President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday regretted that the funds available to run the nation’s missions abroad would not be as robust as his administration would want until the economic situation improved.
He urged the nation’s ambassadors-designate to learn to “do more with less.”
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke while declaring open an induction course organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for career ambassadors-designate, who were recently cleared by the Senate.
The President expressed the optimism that some factors that led the nation into economic recession would reduce in the New Year.
He said, “We are optimistic that the external factors that partly contributed to push our economy into recession will ebb in 2017.
“Until then, I regret that the resources available to fund our missions abroad will not be as robust as we would like.
“We are working hard to turn around our national economy by effectively reforming our macroeconomic environment through some measures, some of which were outlined in my budget speech to the National Assembly last week.”
The President confirmed that Nigerian missions abroad had been restructured.
He attributed the exercise to the prevailing economic circumstances in the county.
Buhari therefore urged the ambassadors-designate to join him in making sacrifices for the country.
“As we are all making great sacrifices at home, we also expect you to similarly make judicious use of the resources put at the disposal of your missions.
“As Heads of Missions, you will be held accountable for the utilisation of all resources under your control. These are lean times and all of us are expected to do more with less,” he stated.
Buhari charged the ambassadors-designate to change the narrative of Nigeria outside the country by playing up the positive values and outstanding contributions of Nigerians in the global arena.
He regretted that for too long, Nigeria had only been known in the international community as a nation of fraudsters, terrorists and vandals.
He said the task ahead of the ambassadors-designate and their members of staff was to make their host governments, private sector and other segments of the society know that Nigeria was more than the negative image portrayed to them.
He said, “For far too long, we have allowed Nigeria to be defined by others, always emphasising our negatives. To the average foreigner, Nigeria evokes 419, terrorism, militancy, communal and religious clashes, insecurity, corruption and all our other faults.”