Ahead of Imminent Cabinet Reshuffle: Need to Split the Fused Ministries

Ahead of Imminent Cabinet Reshuffle: Need to Split the Fused Ministries

Ahead of the imminent cabinet reshuffle, the Center for Global Peace Initiatives (CGPI), calls on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to split the fused ministries of Power, Woks and Housing

The need for this is embedded in the fact that these ministries are not only germane to the developmental fortune of the country and therefore in need of robust and clear directions, they also require different and specific competences and expertise that are beyond the knowledge, skill and scope of an individual. This is why it will be counter-productive to place the three under one individual irrespective of perceived track record

If what we have seen in the last one year is anything to go by especially in the Power ministry, Nigerians have experienced only a reversal of fortune as neither there were increases in power generation nor availability even as the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) continue to threaten with increases in tariffs nonetheless rejected by Nigerians. We have seen the hollowness and the lack of heart to do the needful that could produce the ‘knock on’ effects capable of uplifting the sector and invariably supporting the gradual development of the nation through small, medium, and cottage industries leveraging on the availability of power for entrepreneurial drive

The expected discourses around the ministry such as using and harnessing all forms of power sources rather than reliance on one has not been ventilated; expected legislations which could enable other interested players and levels of government to generate and manage power has not been seen; and talks about generating appropriate partnership and funding have all been absent. Rather, and in the typical lazy and dubious ways, attempts have been made to make Nigerians fund the gap between the capital base of the operators and the humongous amount needed as injection into that sector to transform it into something meaningful through unjustifiable manipulation of tariffs

Even as the Federal Government promises to pay its debt owed the operators of the sector, coupled with an injection of a fraction of the 2017 budget, it is doubtful that these can manifest into anything meaningful. It is obvious that the ‘inheritors’ of the unbundled PHCN now rely solely on either the counter-part funding from the Federal Government or rip-off from customers to continue to fund the epileptic service that they are too happy to provide

In the same vein, the Works and Housing ministries have not been given their due attention and they deserve no less competence and expertise than the power sector. The fact that there has not been a visible road map especially for the Housing ministry is enough a testimony that no individual can combine the enormous task in the ministries. And if we are to rely on antecedents in the Housing sector, it is almost certain that no new things would come out of it other than the  ‘schemes’ which advertise houses for sale to supposed civil servants at a cost running to millions of naira. This definitely is not the vision of any ‘mass’ housing, and it is also a demonstration of a lack of empathy for the commoner. The rhetoric that ‘there are no poor-man’s cement and poor-man’s roofing sheet shows how bereft of ideas our so-called leaders can be. Housing schemes in other climes are multi-modal offering different options, styles and taste to citizen with consideration for affordability a top priority

Hence, and in the of the foregoing, we call on the Presidency to search deeply for core professionals even beyond the shores of the country as there can be no dearth of experts in the aforementioned sectors. We need not limit appointment of public officers to reward for political participation alone. There are not a few Americans who kept aloof of Donald Trump in his bid for the Whitehouse, but since he won the race, he has gone to the nooks and crannies of the United States to fish out those he thought could do the jobs irrespective of their political beliefs

Fusing the ministries only amounts to running them like a retail shop. It is high time we put square peg in square holes

Ayinde Yekinni (Executive Director)

Center for Global Peace Initiatives (CGPI)


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