EMERGENCY FEC MEETING: Transport Minister, others retain positions … As Jonathan fails to announce cabinet shake-up
There is hope of continuity at the Bukar Dipcharima House headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Transport, as, contrary to wide speculations, an emergency meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) last Friday ended without President Goodluck Jonathan announcing a cabinet shake-up.
Senator Umar Idris has held fort as Minister of Transport since succeeding Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman in 2011.
The on-line publication, DAILY POST, reported that most Ministers, who had remained unsettled at the call of the emergency meeting, left the venue relieved, as the much-expected cabinet reshuffle was not part of the meeting agenda.
The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, told State House correspondents after the meeting held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa that it solely deliberated on the medium-term fiscal framework and the fiscal strategy paper for 2014 to 2016 appropriation years.
The Information Minister said: “`For all this period since we came, we have been discussing the medium term fiscal strategy paper forwarded to us by the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
“The idea of bringing this to FEC was for us to intensively discuss the budget forecast for the year between 2014 and 2016 and also to look critically into the revenue and expenditure for these years.
“It is an elaborate policy paper that was brought to us and we started debating on it to see that the budgets between now and 2016 realised the objective of growing the GDP (gross domestic product).
“It will also help in stabilising the macro-economic environment which has ensured that Nigeria remains the fastest growing economy in the continent as well as the destination for the inflow of foreign investments into the continent.
“So, we are looking at the budget objective, budget policy and the direction that we want the economy to go and how it can impact on the welfare and well-being of the people of Nigeria.”
Maku explained that the objective was to ensure that the budget for the next two years would consolidate what the president had achieved in the first two years.
He said that FEC also sought to ensure that the 2014 budget, like that of last year, came early.
He said: “The early passage of the budget will also improve execution.
“Last year, it was October, so, this year, we are hoping to keep the momentum of early passage of the budget.”