BUHARI CABINET: REVIEW OF THE NEW MINISTRIES
President Muhammadu Buhari on August 21st announced the creation of five new ministries while assigning portfolios to the newly sworn-in ministers. Morning Crossfire, a radio show by Wemimo Adewuni and Sheriff Quadri reviews these ministries, also examining what they mean.
Wemimo quotes Vanguard Newspaper as reporting that the House of Representatives is looking forward to receiving a supplementary budget from President Muhammadu Buhari following the creation of these new ministeries. The Jigawa representative says that it will be difficult for the new ministries to take off since the expenditure they will incur was not budgeted in the 2019 appropriation Act, adding that the new ministries will not take off until 2020, except the president fast-tracts the process.
The newly created ministries are as follows:
(1) Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development
(2) Police Affairs
(3) Special Duties and International Affairs
(4) Aviation Ministry
(5) Power Ministry
Alesta Wicox, a chartered accountant, and a guest in the studio reveals what he makes about the newly created ministries. “Do I like them, do I not like them, or do Nigerians like them or not? That is totally immaterial right now. We have over flogged this issue. Apart from the 14 returning ministers, those new ones have not really been seen to perform on reliable level. These have not been tested in terms of ministerial positions. They have areas where they were already tested but as for governance level, these ministers have not been tested.
“I will not pass a judgment on those ones that have not been tested but for those ones that have been tested, yes, we may have reservation on one or two as to why the president wants them to return. At the same time, ‘he who wears the shoes knows where it’s comfortable and where it pinches’ so the president knows what he did by dropping 21 and returned 14. I give kudos to those who are returning. Am I satisfied with all the posting done? Yes and no. the one that I have always talked about is the posting Festus Keyamo as Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs. That’s two ministers in a regional ministry. That is the only ministry that is regional in nature because it doesn’t cover the entire country.
Referring to the problems occurring in the oil & gas sub-sector for example, Alesta said ministers may not be responsible for all that happens in a certain sector. He says “if you say there is increase of armed robbery in this country, is it the president that we will go and ask why is there increase in armed robbery? So if there is armed robbery problem or vandalization problem in the oil industry, then the companies will team up with police to take care of that matter.”
These ministers are not super-humans but they are there to provide leadership and be accountable. It is all about structuring for efficiency. Alesta says the creation and functions of ministries can sometimes be confusing as it also is in foreign climes. He says the best thing is for the Nigerian government to look at what it is doing and try to be efficient at it. For the Buhari government, it promised during the start of the first term to prune down the number of ministries but now it adding to the numbers of ministries in the face of meager resources.
“Today you have the Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora, what does that mean? It is international relations. Today you have a Commission of the Diaspora, yet you have Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You see, these are structures that government creates from time to time.”
Alesta also refers to just how much a ministry may stand for talking about the power and also the housing ministry. “Each of those ministries was a big deal. There is no way a minister or two ministers can effectively handle those. Power alone is enough headache and for me, housing should even take a precedence over some ministries.”
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Alesta Wilcox - Chartered Accountant, Human Right Activist, Public Analyst & Commentator.
#MorningCrossfire with @wemimospot @SheriffQuadry
Written by Jude Chukwuemeka