Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will swear in his cabinet at last on Wednesday, ending a five-month wait for Africa's most populous nation. The inauguration is to begin at 10 a.m. local time in the capital, Abuja, the president's office said Sunday.
"President Muhammadu Buhari will officially inaugurate a new Federal Executive Council on Wednesday, November 11, 2015," said the statement from his spokesman Femi Adesina, which was obtained by Reuters. "Before the commencement of the inaugural session of the council, the ministers-designate will take their oaths of office in the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa.”
Buhari, a former military ruler who took office in late May, received widespread criticism for waiting until September to name his ministerial nominees, who then underwent a monthlong Senate screening process. The 36 ministers will be assigned portfolios after they have been sworn in. The 72-year-old Nigerian leader took his new cabinet members on a retreat Thursday and Friday, during which they were given documents that outlined the state of Nigeria’s economy and the government’s policy goals, according to Reuters.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and top oil producer, is facing its worst economic crisis in years, triggered by falling crude prices and chronic oil theft. The oil industry provides more than 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange revenue and about 70 percent of government revenues.
The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics said in August the oil-dependent country’s annual economic growth in the second quarter plunged to 2.35 percent from 6.54 percent a year earlier. Critics said Buhari’s failure to swiftly appoint ministers and firmly establish a policy direction created a vacuum in his administration that exacerbated Nigeria’s economic issues.