Presidency clarifies position of new finance minister

Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed. [Photo credit: Guardian Nigeria]
Zainab Ahmed. [Photo credit: Guardian Nigeria]

Presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, on Wednesday clarified the current status of the former minister of state for budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed.

Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari redeployed Mrs Ahmed to the finance ministry to take over in supervisory capacity following the resignation of the former minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun.

Mrs Adeosun resigned her appointment in the wake of a report by PREMIUM TIMES which revealed she procured and had been parading a fake National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate used to secure the appointments.

Mr Adesina, who spoke with reporters at the end of the federal executive council on Wednesday, confirmed said Mrs Ahmed, by virtue of her redeployment, had relinquished her previous portfolio.

“You know she (Mrs Ahmed) was minister of state, budget and national planning. She will relinquish that or she has relinquished that to go and oversee the finance ministry. So that is her status for now,” Mr Adesina said.

Pressed to know if Mrs Ahmed would be referred as the ”supervising minister”, ”overseeing minister” or acting minister of finance, Mr Adesina said ”whatever title she (minister) bears was a matter of nomenclature”.

“What you call her is a matter of nomenclature. But if she is overseeing the ministry, then she is. But note that she is no longer minister of state for budget and national planning for now until anything contrary happens. But for now, she is in charge of the ministry of finance.”

On whether the government was contemplating on placing her on a substantive position as minister of finance, the presidential spokesperson said that would ”need to follow due process”.

“Well, the statement says she will oversee the ministry of finance, let’s leave it like that. I just told you she is no longer minister of state, budget and national planning. She will be minister of finance. In fact, that was how she was addressed at council (FEC).

“Don’t forget, it is also a legal thing. If a minister is going to be appointed, there are procedures. That is why it is a deployment,” Mr Adesina said.

To appoint a new minister, the law requires that the name of the new minister be submitted by the National Assembly to initiate a formal screening process.

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