New Nigerian ministers nominated

President Yar Adua unveils list, three weeks after sacking half of his cabinet.

    The delay in Yar Adua's announcement has impacted badly on government activities [AFP]

    'Fatigued individuals'

    "The names are recycled, the names are fatigued individuals," Abubakar Momoh, a professor of politics at Lagos State University, said.

    "I don't find any originality, I don't see anything that has been changed in the list that gives any sense that the administration is willing to energise the system ... he is just telling everyone that it is business as usual."

    T

    "What investors are looking for in all emerging markets is tangible evidence of good policies being implemented"

    Mike Hugman, market strategist, Standard Bank

    he names included Dora Akunyili, who as head of the national drug administration has spearheaded a crackdown on counterfeit drugs, and Babatunde Osotimehin, director-general of the national action committee on HIV/Aids.

    Sam Egwu, the former Ebonyi state governor, once a candidate for the chairmanship of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP), and Shettima Mustapha, ex-agriculture minister, were also on the list.

    The list comprised only 13 nominees, short of the 20 ministers sacked by Yar Adua last month.

    High stakes

    Nigeria needs strong policy makers to navigate the global economic crisis and attract foreign investors who pulled out amid the financial crisis.

    The Nigerian economy has been affected by the 60 per cent fall in oil prices since July.

    Economists say structural reforms are vital if Nigeria is to offset those negative factors, making the new cabinet of sub-Saharan Africa's second-biggest economy key to its success.

    "What investors are looking for in all emerging markets is tangible evidence of good policies being implemented," Mike Hugman, a market strategist at Standard Bank, said.

    "In 2009, emerging markets investors are going to have to be a lot more discerning about where they choose to put their money," he told the Reuters news agency.

    A presidential aide said that Yar Adua wanted Lukman, an honourary adviser on energy and a former oil minister, to replace him as the energy minister.

    But some analysts question whether Lukman, an Opec veteran who served as its secretary-general and its president during the oil price collapse of 1986, can help Nigeria achieve new ideas.

    Others say Lukman's knowledge of the industry as one of the architects of the long-awaited restructuring of state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will be a familiar figure to "nervous foreign oil partners".

    Yar Adua will announce which ministerial posts are to be given to each candidate once the list of nominees has been screened and approved by the senate.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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