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Nigeria MPs want promptly named cabinets to avoid policy delays

Randy Mancini 2 Feb 23
FILE PHOTO: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari waves at the people after commissioning projects during his visit to Imo State
FILE PHOTO: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari waves at the people after commissioning projects during his visit to Imo State, Nigeria September 9, 2021. Nigerian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

February 23, 2022

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigerian lawmakers plan to amend the constitution to compel a new president to nominate the cabinet within a month of taking office, documents showed on Wednesday, to avoid policy delays as the country prepares for elections next year.

President Muhammadu Buhari took five months after he was re-elected to a second term in 2019 to submit cabinet names to parliament for confirmation, a delay that unnerved investors.

During his first term in 2015, Buhari took six months to swear in a cabinet, a delay critics say contributed to a slow response to low oil prices that pushed Nigeria into recession in 2016.

Africa’s largest economy has faced challenges including tepid economic growth, high unemployment and widespread insecurity. Growth of 3.4% in 2021 was the fastest in seven years following two recessions.

Buhari’s ruling party, All Progressives Congress, came to power in 2015 on a pledge to fight corruption and insecurity and boost the economy, defeating an incumbent president for the first time since the end of military rule more than two decades ago.

The planned amendments come as Nigeria prepares for presidential elections next year. Lawmakers also propose to allow Nigerians abroad to vote, the lower house of parliament said.

Amendments to the constitution could take months, analysts say, adding that Buhari will need to sign the provisions before they become law.

(Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Nick Macfie)