Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ministerial list: SSS clears 30 nominees

The State Security Service has so far cleared 30 ministerial nominees, whose names were submitted to it by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Reuters, which reported on Friday that the President had not submitted names of all his nominees to the security agency, stated that the World Bank Managing Director, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, would be given an expanded economic role.

An investigation showed that nominees, who had been cleared, included a former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke; Chief Godwin Orubebe (Niger Delta); Chief Adetokunbo Kayode (Defence); and the acting chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. Haliru Bello.

According to Reuters, ministerial choices of Jonathan, who was sworn in on May 29, “are being closely watched by Nigerians and foreign investors keen for a team capable of driving badly-needed reforms in Africa’s most populous nation.”

It stated that Okonjo-Iweala was being considered for finance minister with additional broad powers over economic management.

The former finance minister helped negotiate debt relief in 2005. One source close to the Presidency told Reuters, “We’re facing some tough fiscal decisions such as (ending) petroleum subsidies, minimum wage issues. So, the idea is to have a strong and robust economic management team.

“You need to bring in somebody who has been there before, who understands both the domestic and the international implications of these issues.”

Security and government sources said Okonjo-Iweala met Jonathan during his trip to the US earlier this month and again in Abuja this week.

She negotiated the cancellation of nearly two-thirds of Nigeria’s $30bn Paris Club debt.

She was suddenly reassigned by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to the foreign ministry in 2006, a move that was never properly explained.

She was appointed to the World Bank, where she had previously worked for more than two decades, in October 2007.

She has been lobbying for a government role that would give her greater powers than the outgoing finance minister.

“Mr. President assured her she will be given a free hand to work and subsequently got her consent to serve in the cabinet,” a second government source said, asking not to be named.

Jonathan is expected to submit his list of ministerial nominees to the Senate for approval next week, with the screening process likely to begin when the upper house returns from recess on Tuesday.

A news agency also reported that the past finance minister, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, had not been cleared. Okonjo-Iweala has also yet to be given security clearance.

Aganga, a former Goldman Sachs executive, oversaw the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund signed into law by Jonathan last month.

Some banking industry sources have said he could end up running that fund or take another role.

The President had promised to form an all-inclusive government. Lobbying for the cabinet is, however, likely to continue to the 11th hour.

No comments:

Post a Comment