A few days ago, all 43 ministers appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari and screened by the Senate were sworn-in, in a ceremony that ended with the much-anticipated allocation of portfolios. Following the 2-day retreat, the focus was on who would get what and how suitable were they for their positions. To that end, 14 ministers returned to their former portfolios, while some ministries were unbundled and restructured.
Notably, we saw an initial euphoria from the equity market, as the NSE-ASI inched upwards from c. 0.06% gain at mid-day to close the day at +1.1%. Clearly, market participants took the crystallization of the swearing-in with some positivity, perhaps with the expectation that hastened fiscal policies and implementation of plans might revive the Nation’s lacklustre growth.
Although the formation of a full-fledged executive cabinet is now behind us, several issues tug at our minds. Considering that there was an uptick in the number of ministers, we had imagined that there would have been more hands-on-deck for portfolios that directly relate to the day-to-day running of the economy (Finance, Budget and National Planning). Also, with Buhari retaining self as the Minister of Petroleum, we might see a continued delay on the passage of the Petroleum industry bill and the unlikelihood of deregulation in the downstream sector. Overall, aside from the unbundling of the ministries and creation of two additional ministries, we are of the opinion that there is nothing overly exciting about the new cabinet until the elected ministers dig holes in the ground and get to repairing the Nigerian economy.
United Capital Plc Research (UCR)