Reps set for extra budget to fund new ministries
• ‘43 ministers will increase cost of governance’
The House of Representatives is looking forward to receiving a supplementary budget from President Muhammadu Buhari following the creation of new ministries to which ministers have been assigned.The Chairman of the House Committee on Power, Magaji Dau, who dropped the hint in an interview with The Guardian welcomed the decision by Buhari to create the five additional ministries.
According to the Jigawa representative, it would be difficult for the new ministries to smoothly take off since the expenditure they would incur was not budgeted for in the 2019 Appropriation Act.
“The new ministries may not take off until 2020 except if the president fast- tracks the process of bringing a supplementary budget to take care of their needs. The creation of police affairs ministry is welcome, so also is the humanitarian and emergency ministry.
“I am also happy with the unbundling of the Power, Works and Housing Ministry. I feel there should still be separate Housing and Works ministries to ensure efficient delivery of services to Nigerians,” he said.
The Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, expressed the readiness of the National Assembly to work in harmony with the newly sworn in ministers.At a reception in honour of the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, Wase said that he had no doubt that Tallen would succeed, given her experience as a politician.
The minister thanked President Buhari, the deputy speaker, and Governor Simon Bako Lalong and the good people of Plateau State for the honour done her.“Whoever knows me will know that I don’t believe in ethnic or religious politics. My doors are open; we will work together for the progress of Plateau and Nigeria. I am your ambassador Mr. Governor; I am at your disposal for anything that pertains to the national level,” she said.
The Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has announced a plan to organise a meeting of all critical stakeholders in youth development in the next few days. He announced this yesterday during his first assignment in Abuja when he gave a keynote address at the 2019 International Youth Day celebrations, with the theme “Transforming Education.”
Meanwhile, a former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to ministers to channel their complaints to him through his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari or the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha.
Frank, in a statement, argued that the directive was indicative of President Buhari’s inability to steer the ship of the state.He queried: “What is the president still doing in office? By this action, he has completely abdicated his responsibilities and declared himself unavailable and unfit to occupy the office of president.
“To subordinate ministers to the whims and caprices of his aides represents a gross abuse of office and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “This is impunity of the highest order and a criminal alienation of the states of the federation that these ministers represent. Effectively, Buhari’s misguided order means that the CoS and SGF are the de facto presidents.”
Frank also questioned the rationale behind President Buhari’s decision to appoint 43 ministers in his cabinet. “Nothing positive can come from the new ministers because 70 to 80 per cent of them have at one time or the other been guests of the anti-corruption agencies with most of them still battling corruption charges in court.
“In 2015, while campaigning, Buhari promised to reduce the cost of governance if elected. After his election, he appointed 36 ministers in apparent fulfillment of the promise. Why did he appoint 43 ministers in 2019?
“We don’t need a seer to know that ballooning of the cabinet would greatly increase government administrative cost and impact negatively on his ability to deliver on infrastructural development in the face of dwindling national revenue.
“Never in the history of Nigeria has any President appointed 43 ministers. What has changed between 2015 and 2019 that led to this atrocious expansion of the cabinet?” Frank asked.“There will be more corruption in this cabinet than in any other administration in the history of Nigeria as some of the ministers purchased their slots and would want to recoup their investments at the detriment of Nigeria and Nigerians,” he added.