After three weeks of consultations with international and Nigeria’s political leaders, President Muhammadu Buhari appears set to effect major changes in the administration of the country in a bid to translate the ‘change’ mantra of his party into reality. To start with, the President is said to have accepted the recommendation of the transition committee he raised a few weeks ago to slash the number of ministries from the present 42 to 19 with a view to saving cost and making them more effective and responsive to the needs of Nigerians.
In the same vein, many of the ministries have been merged to ensure proper coordination of duties and ensure greater efficiency and service delivery.
A source close to the Presidency told Sunday Vanguard that the number of Federal Government departments and agencies had also been trimmed in line with the policy of the administration.
Effectively, it means that no fewer than 50 of the MDAs that were not backed by relevant laws might be scrapped and their staff moved into relevant departments to save cost.
The Presidency source hinted,”But the point being made is that relevant MDAs that will exist under the present administration must be those backed by laws.
“What that means is that the era of doing things the wrong way to please certain persons in positions of power is over.”
Shedding light on some of the ministries that had been merged, the official pointed out that the Ministry of Aviation and relevant agencies had been subsumed with Inland Waterways and associated agencies.
Similarly, the Ministry of Agriculture has been merged with that of Water Resources under what the Presidency source described as the consolidation of larger ministries.
It was learnt that under the administration of Buhari, only 19 ministers and 17 ministers of state would operate as opposed to the previous arrangement where there were at least 42.
It was further gathered that some ministries would be run by senior ministers while others would be manned by junior ministers to save cost.
On the fight against corruption, the source disclosed to Sunday Vanguard that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is to be merged with the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, to tackle graft in a new way that would be prompt, fearless and decisive.
Buhari, who travelled out of Abuja since returning from the African Union meeting in South Africa, late last week, is expected to join his wife, Aisha, at the Presidential Villa, for the first time after being sworn-in on May 29.
The wife had moved into the Villa on Thursday ahead of the President to prepare the ground for his formal assumption of work at the seat of power. He has been operating from the Defence House in the last three weeks.
A top source also said Buhari was expected to make some key appointments this week so as to get the machinery of his administration running. The delay in naming the critical staff of his office had forced some of his key loyalists to demand that he acts fast to deliver the change he promised Nigerians during the campaigns.