By Wahab Akanji, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday again expressed optimism that the current economic recession will end in 2017.
He made the remark in Abuja while declaring open an induction course organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for career ambassadors-designate who were recently cleared by the Senate.
Buhari warned the ambassadors that they would be held responsible for the utilization of resources in their missions.
In a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, President Buhari said: “We are optimistic that the external factors that partly contributed to push our economy into recession will end 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 measures, some of which were outlined in my budget speech to the National Assembly last week.” He said
Noting that the prevailing economic circumstances have led to a restructuring of Nigerian missions abroad, he told the Ambassadors-designate that: “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 specifically 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 said: “I want to emphasise your duty to change the narrative of Nigeria as seen by the outside world. For far too long, we have allowed Nigeria to be defined by others, always emphasizing our negatives. To the average foreigner, Nigeria evokes 419, terrorism, militancy, communal and religious clashes, insecurity, corruption and all our other faults.
“You have the duty to correct this narrative by taking the initiative to define and portray our country for what it truly is. We are a nation of 180 million vibrant, enterprising, hardworking, hospitable and peaceful people. We are a remarkable nation that has succeeded in harnessing our multiple diversities as strengths such that we are the leading country on the continent.
“Therefore, you will need to mobilise, sensitise and motivate all your staff so that together you engage with your host governments, the private sector and other segments of the society to explain that Nigeria is much more than the negative image portrayed to them.” He added
The President also enjoined them to leverage on the achievements of Nigerians within the country and in diaspora.