As Nigerians anticipate the “sacred list” of President Muhammadu Buhari’s new ministers who will pilot his cabinet for another four years, the immediate past Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed has indicated interest to be re-appointed to continue leading the finance ministry for another four years.
The former minister reportedly made her interest known on Tuesday while speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing Bloomberg Emerging and Frontier Forum in London. Mrs. Ahmed revealed she would like to be reappointed as minister of finance to complete several projects she flagged off.
“The president is in the process of putting together a new cabinet. I have not had a discussion with him on whether I am coming back on the cabinet or not.
“I would like to go back to the cabinet in the same role to continue the work that we started. “I was only there for nine months, I started a lot of initiatives that I would love to push.”
Recall that Zainab Ahmed was appointed by the president to oversee the Ministry of Finance in September 2018 after the former Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun resigned following an allegation that she presented a fake NYSC exemption certificate as part of the requirements for clearance as a minister by the Senate.
Tenure Expiration: Zainab Ahmed, along with other ministers, were relieved from their various ministerial positions at the expiration of their tenures. While Nigerians await the much-anticipated list from the President, the permanent secretaries have been duly delegated to run the ministeries.
Information released by Mrs. Ahmed Zainab on her LinkedIn page reveals that the Permanent Secretary of the Finance Ministry is supposedly in charge of affairs of the ministry.
“Earlier yesterday, I presented handover notes to Dr. Mahmoud Isa Dutse, Permanent Secretary of my Ministry, appreciated H.E. Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity to serve Nigeria.
“All thanks to Almighty Allah for making it easy for me to sail through the turbulent milestone and deliver well, I give credit also to my family and Nigerians entirely who against all odds supported me. God bless you all”
In the meantime, while President Buhari has not given hints on the new ministers, other prominent Nigerians have been mooted for the seat of the finance minister.
Plan to increase VAT to 7.5%: In the meantime, the Former Minister has disclosed the Government’s plan to raise value-added tax (VAT) to 7.5% by 2020 from the current 5%. Mrs. Ahmed stated that an upward review of VAT is a follow up on the agreement reached between the FG and labour union following the minimum wage increase. She stressed that such a marginal increase on VAT would enable the government to handle the incremental cost of increasing wages.
“We have developed a strategic revenue growth initiative, which we have started implementing. Our target is to increase revenue to 65% minimum in 2019 so that in the next three years, we are able to attain 80-85% of our revenue target.
“We are looking at adding value-added tax from 5% to 7.5%. 5% is one of the lowest VAT globally. The increase will not be done overnight but hopefully, by the next budget (2020), the new increase will take effect.
“We recently increased the minimum wage and one of the agreements we had with labour was that there would be some marginal increase on VAT to enable us to handle the incremental cost of increasing wages.”