01 October 2015, Abuja—The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA, has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision not to appoint a Minister of Petroleum, saying the President would be distracted and overload himself with excess workload.
Speaking in an interview with Vanguard in Abuja, Mr. Billy Harry, National Vice President, NACCIMA, stated that the President already had too much work to do to saddle himself with a ministerial appointment.
He said if Buhari really wants to bring the change dividend that Nigeria voted for, he should focus on administering all the ministries from a vantage point as President, not as a minister and a President.
He said: “It will distract him and not give him the required space and work time to be able to administer facets of the economy and policies.
“We have so many more issues other than oil. Agriculture alone can swallow everything that oil is doing.”
Agriculture alone can give us over 500 per cent of income stream of what oil is doing. So, does it mean that if he wants to curb corruption in that sector, he has to also be minister of agriculture?
“The President has to be very focused on job of supervising the entire economy as a polity. I don’t think I will advise him to saddle himself with additional responsibility.”
Also speaking, Mr. Peter Esele, former President of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, stated that President Buhari would be saddled with a huge volume of work which might likely hinder him from concentrating on some sectors of the economy.
Esele, who is also a former President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, said, “Theoretically, he can get away with it to a level, but what I am also looking at is the volume of work, because I think that the president has so much clean up to do, not only in the NNPC; with institutionalizing transparency and best practice, not only in the oil and gas sector, but in the entire economy, so that we can move on.”
However, he said the President should be given the benefit of the doubt, stating that, “But no matter what happened, we should give the President the benefit of the doubt. If it works, we all clap for him, and if he fails, he will be criticized.
“I think the bottom line is that he is the president and he is going to appoint minister of state for petroleum, from what I gathered. And between the minister of state and the GMD of the NNPC, they will report to him.
“What we have during the time of Obasanjo, there was no minister of state. He was the minister of petroleum ,and he only had a special adviser on petroleum, which is not the same office as a minister.”