May 2017 - Archieve

Under the hood articles from the past.

How to Rewrite the Wrong Script your Life is Acting

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Many thinkers and writers, both past and present, have described human beings in this world as actors and actresses on a big stage, this life, to one great play. Ask yourself, what role are you playing? Who’s writing your script? Are you acting out your own story? Or are you simply going through the motions in someone else’s play?

We each have a set of ideas or beliefs about ourselves that define us as a central character in a “story” that we’re living out. All of the elements of the story have been passed down as part of our culture or upbringing, taught or ingrained, or simply fabricated in our own minds. We then go about enacting our stories as if they were true.

The thing is, most of us don’t even realize that we’re enacting a story, much less someone else’s story. Because of this, we’re completely at the mercy of the story and its writer, how it unfolds, how we react to certain events, and the eventual course our life takes.

If we don’t take the time to construct our own story, we’ll continue enacting our current one, even if it isn’t working for us and even if someone else is holding the pen, or typing the keys.

So how can you discover the story you’re enacting and decide if it’s time to create your own spin-off? Here are some pointers:

1. Assume you are in fact enacting a story. Uncover the elements of your story. Be a detective, hunting for clues. Look at all your behaviors and describe them piece by piece, until the “whole” story emerges.

2. Assess your story. Are you happy with it? What would you change, remove, or add to this story to make it more satisfying? Re-write your story – become the author of the grandest story you can envision – a story that truly inspires.

3. Share your new story with important people in your life. Talk about your specific role in the story and why it appeals to you. The more you talk about your new story, the more it will become a part of you.

4. Commit to living your new role in some way. Make at least one change that is in alignment with the new story.

Finally, explore how your new story fits into the bigger story of your family, organization, corporation, country, and the world. What contribution can your new individual story make to the bigger story?

Remember, you are the author and you can write your own story any way you wish. And lastly, you time is limited. So do not waste it. Spend it wisely!

3 Fresh Vacancies At Airtel Nigeria

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Airtel Nigeria (Airtel Networks Limited), a leading mobile telecommunication services provider in Nigeria and a member of Airtel Africa Group, is committed to providing innovative, exciting, affordable and quality mobile services to Nigerians, giving them the freedom to communicate, rise above their daily challenges and drive economic and social development.

We are recruiting to fill the vacant position below: 

1. Job Title: Channel Manager
Location: Nigeria
Job Purpose 

  • To sustain and enhance targeted gross revenue and gross acquisition in respective SME business by effective implementation of planned sales and channel management strategies.
Duties and Responsibilities
Acquisition, management, and retention of SME/SMBs directly and indirectly through channel partners:

  • To identify and recruit suitable channel partners who will drive the effective acquisition of SME customers
  • Ensure adherence of channel partners to all guidelines as this will help ensure their profitability and sustain demand. Responsible for the implementation, acquisition & retention strategy for prospective and existing accounts in the zone
  • Grow the usage of Corporate products in the states
  • Create exceptional opportunities to sell non-voice products such as data, blackberry, leased circuit, dedicated internet etc
  • Create opportunities to run presentations of Corporate products to SMB /SME all segments in the Zones, directly and through channel partners
  • Responsible for SME/SMB account development and relationship management process for accounts in the channel guided by the signed service level agreement
  • Maximize sales through effective execution and implementation of placement and distribution strategies
  • Encourage and develop opportunities to have Airtel presence in all RETAIL & SME COMPANIES in the zones
3rd Party Channel Management: 
  • Visit a minimum of 3 channel partners per week. Such visit should be targeted at ensuring availability of POS materials, reviewing performance against target, reviewing product knowledge of field sales agents and taking corrective actions as required
  • Facilitate and coordinate the recruitment, training, and development of Field Sales agents
  • Constantly ensure field sales employees are optimally deployed by advising channel partners and dealers on route planning, territory management, etc.
Market & Competitor Analysis: 
  • Monitor the activities of competition in our target market and customer segment and develop or recommend counter measures to win competition
Cross Functional Liaison and Support: 
  • Co-ordinate with learning & Development and marketing for product, process and behavioral training of field sales employees and channel partners
  • Work with service delivery and support bill delivery and collection in the zone
Target Allocation, Forecasting, Reporting: 
  • Accountability for ensuring that agreed target are cascaded across channel partners and field sales agents
  • Responsibility for managing performance variances and reallocating targets as required
  • Timely report, of all activities (Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly etc.. and as required).
  • Acquisition - Performance Vs. Target and against all product lines
  • Lost Opportunities
  • Prospect and funnel management
  • Initiatives
  • Service queries and challenges
Channel branding and visibility: 
  • Ensure appropriate branding is carried by all active outlets within the territory
  • Identify visibility opportunities for Airtel brand within the territory
  • Presence at relevant events, ensuring expected benefits are realized
  • Reduce debt portfolio and churn in your segment
  • Carry out all other functions as directed by ZBM
Dimensions (Metric Measures) 
  • Revenue Growth
  • Postpaid Gross Adds/Activations
  • Activations & Query Resolutions with SLA
  • Churn Management
  • Quality of Gross Adds
  • Channel Activation Score
  • Active Channel Partner
Educational Qualification

  • A University Degree in Business Administration, Marketing or related course
  • 3-5 years preferably in FMCG, Consumables & telecom
  • 3-5 years’ experience in managing sales channel or Key Accounts
  • Sales channel management or Key account management, Presentation, report writing and basic computer skills
Key Decisions: 
  • Responding to market dynamics and recommending measures to increase sales from existing & new accounts
  • Constantly tracking and reviewing channel partners activities and pre-empting counter solution for market expansion
Major Challenges: 
  • Managing and monitoring channel partners
  • Expanding our acquisition drive, and retaining accounts
  • Creating visibility of Airtel products and services
  • Effective and timely communication of all schemes and product launches to existing customers and channel partners
  • Expanding SME/SMB sales coverage by appointing new channel partners
Other requirements (Behavioural etc.): 
  • Achieving Results, & Delighting the Customer
  • Analytical
  • Team Player; Independent, Confident, and Objective
  • Attention to detail/ excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Good presentation skills
  • Ready to achieve beyond set target
  • Committed to common goals and values of the organization
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply for this Position

2. Job Title: Area Sales Manager [North]
Locations: Kebbi & Katsina
Job Description

  • The successful candidate will be to maximize revenue and subscriber acquisition (gross and net additions) opportunities in assigned territory through channel effectiveness (wholesale & retail), adequate recharge availability and implementation of planned sales & distribution and marketing strategies.
Duties and Responsibilities
To achieve recharge sales target within state/area: 

  • To ensure adequate availability of all recharge denominations in sub-CP and retail points.
  • To ensure channel partners are making stock available and distributing to their network of sub-CPs and retailers
  • To achieve ERC, RCV and E-pin target in agreed ratios.
  • Constantly identify opportunities for driving activation and recharge sales within territory.
Achieve Share of Gross & Net Additions (SOGA & SONA): 
  • Ensure full-fledged achievement of Gross Adds targets by driving market initiatives in assigned area.
  • Effective management of direct activation teams and monitoring of CP bus activation activities.
  • KYC Optimization at Trade level by ensuring adequate and functional deployment of KYC kits
  • Drive KYC inactivity to nil
  • Other initiatives to increase GAD including new site launch
  • Ensure activation of Quality GADs in assigned area.
  • Develop and implement activities that will increase SONA in assigned area.
  • Implementation of customer driven activities (product launches, town storms etc) in assigned area.
  • Drive voice and data business performance by the implementation of revenue generating activities and initiatives in assigned territory.
Channel branding and visibility: 
  • Ensure appropriate and effective outlet branding is carried out in line with the “look of success” within the territory.
  • Identify visibility opportunities for Airtel brand within the territory.
  • To ensure ITP increases and gives impetus to iCMS and iRMS
  • Effective management of POS stock in the warehouse to avoid damage, wastage and obsolete materials.
  • Train Market Developers on POS deployment in line with “look of success”.
Distribution Infrastructure: 
  • To recruit appropriate number of Retailers- RSOs, SSOs, ERCOs in line with scientific distribution requirements.
  • Migrate all other retailers to become one stop shop SSOs and SSOs.
  • Maintain the ratio of RSO(5): SSO(1) in line with scientific distribution.
  • Maintain KYC infra ratio of 1kit:3 SSOs.
  • To identify and recruit suitable sub channel partners in the territory for effective product re-distribution.
BTS Management: 
  • Ensure constant CLS elimination.
  • Develop subscriber acquisition and other marketing initiatives to drive revenue in CLS site locations.
  • New Site Launch Plan and Distribution Preparedness.
  • Effectively drive and manage target driven initiatives and project.
Industry Awareness/Competition Intelligence: 
  • To effectively report competitive activities within assigned territory and implement adequate counter initiatives.
  • Track on-going initiatives in Market.
  • To immediately address or escalate any unusual competitor activity and sale support that may be a threat to the performance of the business.
Relevant Skill and Experience 
  • Bachelors in Social sciences, marketing, business management, engineering or computer science
  • Master’s in business administration or management will be an advantage
  • Project Management qualification will be an advantage
  • 3+ years of commercial/ business management experience
  • Team leadership experience
  • 1 - 2 years of relevant experience in the Telecommunications space
  • Computer literacy
  • Sales knowledge
  • Product/ Service development
  • Product/ Service Management
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Customer orientation
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply for this Position

3. Job Title: Regional Sales Lead
Location: Nigeria
Job Purpose 

  • The responsibility of the role holder is to entrench the Airtel Business Brand within the Enterprise Market with a view to having the dominant market share in the designated region, leading teams in the acquisition, growth and customer management of B2B customers in the region.
  • In addition to having full accountability for regional B2B revenue, brand equity, B2B relationship management, B2B customer service, B2B revenue assurance and debt management.
  • To acquire and retain more post-paid customers and generate revenue for the business.
Duties and Responsibilities
Develop the strategic and operational plan to drive B2B revenue and B2B customer growth in the region: 

  • Define parameters for the corporate/SME segmentation and attendant key accounts, direct and indirect sales channel management
  • Develop compelling initiatives to increase B2B CMS and RMS in the region
  • Propose, implement and monitor unique enterprise value propositions and solutions as per individual client needs
  • Lead the development and implementation of robust and cost efficient routes to markets for the B2B segments in the region
  • Manage Sales Performance for all B2B sales teams (direct and indirect)
  • Provide Strategic Support to enhance the delivery of regional targets
  • Supervises teams to ensure proper sales pipeline activity. Ensures active nurturing of deals and movement of opportunities to close
  • Take ownership for ensuring availability of sales resourcing required to meet the regional targets
  • Responsible for applying the appropriate control to ensure quality of service by third party sales partners
  • Encourage and develop opportunities to have Airtel presence in all relevant areas related to the B2B segment, across the region
Performance management, compliance, and process governance: 
  • Provide strategic support to enhance the delivery of regional B2B targets
  • Develop procedures for setting and communicating sales, service delivery and customer service targets and monitoring performance
  • Deploy relevant metrics to routinely monitor progress against targets and recommend appropriate remedial actions to ensure targets are met or exceeded
  • Effectively manage B2B sale and B2B customer service teams to ensure drive for greater performance in terms of customer acquisition, customer activation, and service provisioning, and customer service
  • Ensures timely submission of all performance reports on schedule
  • Manage the Account development plan (ADP) for all accounts under the regional portfolio and ensures timely submission of same to HQ on a monthly basis
  • Directly supervises the day to day activities of the Corporate Segment, SME Segment, Customer Service and Corporate Solutions teams
  • Accountability for ensuring that all receivables and Bills are up to date in terms of collections
  • Accountability for timely execution of all B2B contracts especially from the customer end (i.e. Sign off)
B2B Customer Management: 
  • Lead the management of all B2B customers in the regions, both directly and indirectly
  • Deliver YOY increase in customer satisfaction scores for the B2B business in the regions
  • Accountability for managing teams to deliver optimum customer experience through:
    • Effective and first-time-right service activation
    • Delivering on SLA through effective service recovery
    • Managing and escalating customer issues to ensure an end to end resolution
    • Enforcement of health check processes and service review meetings
  • Propose and ensure execution of executive level service review meeting for key strategic accounts in the region
  • Take accountability for B2B customer retention and win back
Revenue Assurance, Realization, and Collection: 
  • Put in place the appropriate governance framework for ensuring that all services are delivered on time and billed successfully through the submission of all appropriate documentation required for service provisioning and billing (POs, contracts, CRFs, JCC etc)
  • Accountability for managing collection and minimizing debt for the B2B customers in the region
  • Drive for resolution for all billing, reconciliation, and service penalty issues impacting revenue collection and or realizations
Proactive Competitor Intelligence and Market Insight: 
  • Monitor and collate all activities of competition in the region and implement or recommend countermeasures to win competition
Cross Functional Engagement and Support: 
  • Act as the Single Point of Contact for all operational activities for Airtel Business across stakeholder departments for the region
  • Develop a win-win working relationship between the region and HQ teams, collaborate and communicate effectively, ensuring an inclusive approach to teamwork
  • Work closely with wider networks, IT, Regulatory, Legal, Service, Marketing and commercial teams to elicit support for the Enterprise Business in the region
Build a capable and motivated team to create a high-performance team environment: 
  • Provide clarity of purpose to the regional b2B teams. Bring teams in sync with Airtel Business objectives and create cohesive workforce
  • Coach, mentor and guide team members, ensuring high motivation and engagement
  • Put in place training and development plan for members of the team
  • Ensuring effective RHCI activities and identify team training needs and implement& appropriate learning interventions
  • Recruit the right talent in consultation with function head, as per defined recruitment guidelines
  • Establish performance expectations and regularly review individual performance Recommend appropriate rewards and recognition
Educational Qualification 
  • Bachelors in any of the Social Sciences or Arts
  • Post graduate Degree in Marketing
  • Masters in Business Administration would be preferred additional qualification dependent on experience
  • Experience in Sales, customer service or marketing within Telecoms
  • 5 Years’ experience working in B2B within the commercial areas of the Telecoms Sector
  • Sound understanding of telecoms value chain
  • Capacity to interact and establish rapport with very senior levels of Management (customers)
  • Candidates must have a total of 10 years selling experience of Telecommunication Products of which 5 must be at a managerial level
Other Requirements (Behavioural etc.): 
  • Professional Membership of relevant Bodies will be an added advantage
  • Candidates must be a team player and result-driven
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply for this Position

Application Deadline  14th June, 2017.

7 Tips To Help You Grow Your Business Successfully

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Here are some tips to help you lead and grow your business successfully.
  1. Vision/Revelation: Vision is key to the growth of any organisation or business. Let the vision drive your business to success and never lose sight of your destination as a business leader. Remember the scripture “my people perish for lack of vision” (Hosea 4:6). You need revelation and how do you get it? Spend time with God! You need that information (revelation) for the next level. Let the revelation or vision you receive from the Father drive you as business leader.
  1. Core Values – Knowing the core values of your business or organisation is key to its growth. Core values are simply what your organisation stands for and the things you cannot (and will not) compromise as a business. Take sometime to write these down and apply them to your business – every single day. One great core value? Let excellence always drive your work.
  1. Build Systems – Most successful businesses or organisations run on good systems. Leaders develop processes that make the business function without depending on one person. This might mean hiring people or outsourcing. Training is a huge component in building a system to propel your business to the next level. When you find what works for your business, keep improving it! If your business or church can’t run without you the leader, then it’s imperative to create a system that doesn’t depend on you. Start building your systems today and watch growth happen and your business will take flight!
  1. Training – This is an unavoidable action for any business leader. You must build your workforce by training them regularly for improved performance. Please do not underestimate this, as it can make or break an organisation.
  1. Hire Experts – When your business gets to a certain point, you need experts to help you take it to the next level. When you start, you are the janitor, web designer, admin, etc. You need to be able to identify when you need help and seek out that help from experts more qualified. Most businesses don’t survive because its owner refuses to bring in outside help from experts! In other words, fire yourself and hire those who complement your weaknesses!
  1. Stay Current – Staying relevant is the currency of life. Be quick to adapt and move forward. The life and the success of your business depends on this ability.
  1. Increase your capacity – Your business depends on your capacity as a leader. You can increase your capacity many ways. One way is by educating yourself and continuously learning through reading books, networking with people, following the leadership of a mentor and learning from the best in your industry. If your business is not growing, look at your capacity and make a point to improve it. This will take your business to next level.
Finally, DO NOT GIVE UP!
Your best is yet to come as a leader or business owner. There are so many ideas and helpful insights we can share to take your business to the next level.
Start with these and let us know how they are working for you!                        -(Credit: SamAdeyemi)

FULL TEXT: 2017 Democracy Day Speech By Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

Dear Nigerians, I bring you good wishes from President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, who as we all know is away from the country on medical vacation.
  1. Today marks the second anniversary of our assumption of office. We must thank the Almighty God not only for preserving our lives to celebrate this second anniversary, but for giving us hope, strength and confidence as we faced the challenges of the past two years.
  2. Our administration outlined three specific areas for our immediate intervention on assumption of office: these were Security, Corruption and the Economy.
  3. In the Northeast of our country, the terrorist group Boko Haram openly challenged the sovereignty and continued existence of the state, killing, maiming,and abducting, causing the displacement of the largest number of our citizens in recent history. Beyond the North East they extended their mindless killings, as far away as Abuja, Kano And Kaduna.
  4. But with new leadership and renewed confidence our gallant military immediately began to put Boko Haram on the back foot. We have restored broken-down relations with our neighbours, Chad, Cameroon and Niger — allies without whom the war against terror would have been extremely difficult to win. We have re-organized and equipped our Armed Forces, and inspired them to heroic feats; we have also revitalized the regional Multinational Joint Task Force, by providing the required funding and leadership.
  5. The positive results are clear for all to see. In the last two years close to one million displaced persons have returned home. 106 of our daughters from Chibok have regained their freedom, after more than two years in captivity, in addition to the thousands of other captives who have since tasted freedom.
  6. Schools, hospitals and businesses are springing back to life across the Northeast, especially in Borno State, the epicentre of the crisis. Farmers are returning to the farms from which they fled in the wake of Boko Haram. Finally, our people are getting a chance to begin the urgent task of rebuilding their lives.
  7. Across the country, in the Niger Delta, and in parts of the North Central region, we are engaging with local communities, to understand their grievances, and to create solutions that respond to these grievances adequately and enduringly.
  8. President Buhari’s New Vision for the Niger Delta is a comprehensive peace, security and development plan that will ensure that the people benefit fully from the wealth of the region, and we have seen to it that it is the product of deep and extensive consultations, and that it has now moved from idea to execution. Included in that New Vision is the long-overdue environmental clean-up of the Niger Delta beginning with Ogoni-land, which we launched last year.
  9. More recent threats to security such as the herdsmen clashes with farmers in many parts of the country sometimes leading to fatalities and loss of livelihoods and property have also preoccupied our security structures. We are working with State governments, and tasking our security agencies with designing effective strategies and interventions that will bring this menace to an end. We are determined to ensure that anyone who uses violence, or carries arms without legal authority is apprehended and sanctioned.
  10. In the fight against corruption, we have focused on bringing persons accused of corruption to justice. We believe that the looting of public resources that took place in the past few years has to be accounted for. Funds appropriated to build roads, railway lines, and power plants, and to equip the military, that had been stolen or diverted into private pockets, must be retrieved and the culprits brought to justice. Many have said that the process is slow, and that is true, corruption has fought back with tremendous resources and our system of administration of justice has been quite slow. But the good news for justice is that our law does not recognize a time bar for the prosecution of corruption and other crimes, and we will not relent in our efforts to apprehend and bring corruption suspects to justice. We are also re-equipping our prosecution teams, and part of the expected judicial reforms is to dedicate some specific courts to the trial of corruption cases.
  11. We are also institutionalizing safeguards and deterrents. We have expanded the coverage of the Treasury Single Account (TSA). We have introduced more efficient accounting and budgeting systems across the Federal Government. We have also launched an extremely successful Whistleblower Policy.
  12. The Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance has succeeded in plugging leakages amounting to billions of naira, over the last two years. We have ended expensive and much-abused fertilizer and petrol subsidy regimes.
  13. We have taken very seriously our promise to save and invest for the future, even against the backdrop of our revenue challenges, and we have in the last two years added US$500m to our Sovereign Wealth Fund and US$87m to the Excess Crude Account. This is the very opposite of the situation before now, when rising oil prices failed to translate to rising levels of savings and investment.
  14. Admittedly, the economy has proven to be the biggest challenge of all. Let me first express just how concerned we have been, since this administration took office, about the impact of the economic difficulties on our citizens.
  15. Through no fault of theirs, some companies shut down their operations, others downsized; people lost jobs, had to endure rising food prices. In some States civil servants worked months on end without the guarantee of a salary, even as rents and school fees and other expenses continued to show up like clockwork.
  16. We have been extremely mindful of the many sacrifices that you have had to make over the last few years. And for this reason this administration’s work on the economic front has been targeted at a combination of short-term interventions to cushion the pain, as well as medium to long term efforts aimed at rebuilding an economy that is no longer helplessly dependent on the price of crude oil.
  17. Those short-term interventions include putting together a series of bailout packages for our State Governments, to enable them bridge their salary shortfalls — an issue the President has consistently expressed his concerns about. We also began the hard work of laying out a framework for our Social Intervention Programme, the most ambitious in the history of the country.
  18. One of the first tasks of the Cabinet and the Economic Management Team was to put together a Strategic Implementation Plan for the 2016 budget, targeting initiatives that would create speedy yet lasting impact on the lives of Nigerians.
  19. Indeed, much of 2016 was spent clearing the mess we inherited and putting the building blocks together for the future of our dreams; laying a solid foundation for the kind of future that you deserve as citizens of Nigeria.
  20. In his Budget Presentation Speech to the National Assembly last December, President Buhari outlined our Economic Agenda in detail, and assured that 2017 -would be the year in which you would begin to see tangible benefits of all the planning and preparation work. It is my pleasure to note that in the five months since he delivered that speech, we have seen tremendous progress, as promised.
  21. Take the example of our Social Investment Programme, which kicked off at the end of 2016. Its Home Grown School Feeding component is now feeding more than 1 million primary school children across seven states and would be feeding three million by the end of the year. N-Power, another component has engaged 200,000 unemployed graduates — none of whom needed any ‘connections’ to be selected. Beneficiaries are already telling the stories of how these initiatives have given them a fresh start in their lives.
  22. Micro credit to a million artisans, traders and market men and women has begun. While conditional cash transfers to eventually reach a million of the poorest and most vulnerable households has also begun.
  23. Road and power projects are ongoing in every part of the country. In rail, we are making progress with our plans to attract hundreds of millions of dollars in investment to upgrade the existing 3,500km narrow-gauge network. We have also in 2017 flagged-off construction work on the Lagos-Ibadan leg of our standard-gauge network, and are close to completing the first phase of Abuja’s Mass Transit Rail System.
  24. In that Budget speech in December, the President announced the take-off of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative. Today, five months on, that Initiative — the product of an unprecedented bilateral cooperation with the Government of Morocco — has resulted in the revitalisation of 11 blending plants across the country, the creation of 50,000 direct and indirect jobs so far, and in the production of 300,000 metric tonnes of NPK fertilizer, which is being sold to farmers at prices significantly lower than what they paid last year. By the end of 2017, that Fertilizer Initiative would have led to foreign exchange savings of US$200 million; and subsidy savings of 60 billion naira.
  25. The Initiative is building on the solid gains of the Anchor Borrowers Programme, launched in 2015 to support our rice and wheat farmers, as part of our move towards guaranteeing food security for Nigeria.
  26. All of this is evidence that we are taking very seriously our ambition of agricultural self-sufficiency. I am delighted to note that since 2015 our imports of rice have dropped by 90 percent, while domestic production has almost tripled. Our goal is to produce enough rice to meet local demand by 2019. In April, the President launched our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which built on the foundations laid by the Strategic implementation Plan of 2016. The plan has set forth a clear vision for the economic development of Nigeria. I will come back to this point presently.
  27. Another highlight of the President’s Budget Speech was our work around the Ease of Doing Business reforms. As promised we have since followed up with implementation and execution. I am pleased to note that we are now seeing verifiable progress across several areas, ranging from new Visa on Arrival scheme, to reforms at our ports and regulatory agencies.
  28. The President also promised that 2017 would see the rollout of Executive Orders to facilitate government approvals, support procurement of locally made goods, and improve fiscal responsibility. We have kept that promise. This month we issued three Executive Orders to make it easier for citizens to get the permits and licenses they require for their businesses, to mandate Government agencies to spend more of their budgets on locally produced goods, and to promote budget transparency and efficiency. The overarching idea is to make Government Agencies and Government budgets work more efficiently for the people.
  29. The impact of our Ease of Doing Business work is gradually being felt by businesses small and large; its successful take-off has allowed us to follow up with the MSME Clinics -our Small Business support programme, which has taken us so far to Aba, Sokoto, Jos, Katsina, and we expect to be in all other states in due course.
  30. Let me note, at this point, that several of our Initiatives are targeted at our young people, who make up most of our population. From N-Power, to the Technology Hubs being developed nationwide, to innovation competitions such as the Aso Villa Demo Day, and our various MSME support schemes, we will do everything to nurture the immense innovative and entrepreneurial potential of our young people. We are a nation of young people, and we will ensure that our policies and programmes reflect this.
  31. One of the highlights of our Power Sector Recovery Programme, which we launched in March, is a N701 billion Naira Payment Assurance Scheme that will resolve the financing bottlenecks that have until now constrained the operations of our gas suppliers and generation companies. Let me assure that you will soon begin to see the positive impact of these steps.
  32. Our Solid Minerals Development Fund has also now taken off, in line with our commitment to developing the sector. Because of our unerring focus on Solid Minerals development over the last two years, the sector has, alongside Agriculture, seen impressive levels of growth — in spite of the recession.
  33. On the whole, just as the President promised in the Budget Speech, these early months of 2017 have seen the flowering of the early fruit of all the hard work of our first eighteen months.
  34. We opened the year with an overwhelmingly successful Eurobond Offer — evidence of continuing investor interest in Nigeria. We have also launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017–2020, to build on the gains of last year’s Strategic Implementation Plan. And the implementation of our 2017 Budget, which will soon be signed into law, will bring added impetus to our ongoing economic recovery. In the 2016 Budget we spent 1.2 Trillion Naira on infrastructure projects, another milestone in the history of this country. Our 2017 Budget will double that investment.
  35. That budget also provides for substantial investment to implement the rollout of Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones (SEZs), as well as our Social Housing Programme. The Industrial Parks and Economic Zones will fulfill our ambition of making Nigeria a manufacturing hub, while the Family Home Fund of our Social Housing Programme will provide inexpensive mortgages for low-income individuals and families across the country.
  36. These plans offer yet more evidence that we are ramping up the pace of work; the work of fulfilling all that we promised. In the next two years we will build on the successes of the last two. We have demonstrated a willingness to learn from our mistakes and to improve on our successes. The critical points that we must address fully in the next two years are : Agriculture and food security, Energy, (power and Petroleum,) Industrialization and Transport infrastructure. Every step of the way we will be working with the private sector, giving them the necessary incentives and creating an environment to invest and do business.
  37. Our vision is for a country that grows what it eats and produces what it consumes. It is for a country that no longer has to import petroleum products, and develops a lucrative petrochemical industry. Very importantly it is for a country whose fortunes are no longer tied to the price of a barrel of crude, but instead to the boundless talent and energy of its people, young and old, male and female as they invest in diverse areas of the economy.
  38. And that vision is also for a country where the wealth of the many will no longer be stolen by or reserved for a few; and where the impunity of corruption — whether in the public or private sectors — will no longer be standard operating practice; a land rid of bandits and terrorists.
  39. As citizens you all deserve a country that works, not merely for the rich or connected, but for everyone. And our promise to you is that we will, with your support and cooperation, take every step needed to create that country of our dreams.
  40. We also know that this journey will of necessity take time. But we will not succumb to the temptation to take short-cuts that ultimately complicate the journey. We did not find ourselves in crises overnight, and we simply do not expect overnight solutions to our challenges.
  41. The most important thing is that we are on the right path, and we will not deviate from it, even in the face of strong temptation to choose temporary gain over long-term benefit. As the President has summed it up: “The old Nigeria is slowly but surely disappearing, and a new era is rising.”
  42. And so we commemorate this second anniversary of our administration with confidence and optimism. I firmly believe that we have put the most difficult phase behind us; and we are witnesses to the ever-increasing intensity of the light at the end of the tunnel. We ask for your continued cooperation and support, to enable us realise all our best intentions and ambitions for Nigeria. On our part We will continue to carry you along on this journey, speak to you, explain the challenges, and share our Vision.
  43. And while we all daily pre-occupy ourselves with pursuing the Nigerian Dream — which is the desire to better our lives and circumstances vigorously and honestly — it is inevitable that grievances and frustrations will arise from time to time.
  44. This is normal. What is not normal, or acceptable, is employing these frustrations as justification for indulging in discrimination or hate speech or hateful conduct of any kind, or for seeking to undermine by violent or other illegal means the very existence of the sovereign entity that has brought us all together as brothers and sisters and citizens.
  45. Nigeria belongs to all of us. No one person or group of persons is more important or more entitled than the other in this space that we all call home. And we have a responsibility to live in peace and harmony with one another, to seek peaceful and constitutional means of expressing our wishes and desires, and to resist all who might seek to sow confusion and hatred for their own selfish interests.
  46. Before I end this speech, let me ask for your continued prayers for the restoration to full health and strength and the safe return of our President.
  47. I congratulate all of you on today’s commemoration of this important day in the democratic calendar our country. Nigeria is on a journey of greatness, and together we shall arrive at the destination of our dreams.
  48. May God bless you all, and bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.