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Appoint Finance Minister now – Group urges Buhari

By on July 24, 2015

The Centre for Social Justice on Wednesday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a Finance minister to manage the economy pending when he would constitute his full cabinet.

The group, in a statement issued by its lead Director, Mr. Eze Onyekpere, said the non-composition of a cabinet by the President was affecting key sectors of the economy, adding that a sector like finance could not be left hanging for months without a substantive minister.

It argued that currently, there was no policy directive to guide citizens and investors, as the economy seemed to have stagnated.

For instance, the group said the naira was losing value by the day, while quoted stocks had lost a good part of their values.

The statement read in part, “The fact that has been repeatedly stated by a few officials of the new government is that there is a lot of work to be done to clean the misdeeds of the past. The volume and enormity of the work demands that more hands should be involved in the cleansing exercise. It cannot, therefore, be a justification for only one or two persons to carry the load of reforms.

“Nigeria is too big for only a few persons to think they can solve all the economic, political and social challenges alone.

“Even if the President is to wait until September, it is imperative that some critical sectors get ministers immediately. As of now, there is no economic policy directive to guide citizens and investors, and the economy seems to have stagnated.

“The naira is fast losing value by the day, while quoted stocks have lost a good part of their values. Investment decisions are delayed and the last budget implementation report that was published was for the second quarter of 2014.”

The CSJ added, “No one seems to know or members of the public have not been briefed on the implementation of the 2015 budget. And no one seems to be in charge of the preparation process of the 2016-2018 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the 2016 budget.

“We do not see the permanent secretaries in the appropriate ministries managing the processes that would resolve these afore-stated challenges.

“Hence the need for ministers in the finance and economy portfolios to steer the economic ship of state and move it away from running aground.”

In the statement, the group said while it acknowledged the need to put rules of conduct and good governance in place, it was not aware that the President was preparing any new set of laws and regulations to guide governance.

It said the current laws and financial regulations were good enough to facilitate good governance, noting that what had been lacking under previous administrations was the political will to enforce these laws.

It added, “The President does not need to reinvent the wheel but to continue the administration from where his predecessor stopped considering that governance is a never ending continuum.

“Even if the President is engaged in drawing up new laws and regulations or restructuring the ministries as has been suggested, the process needs not take the whole of June, July and August 2015. It can be done in a shorter period. It can be done now.”