UPDATE 1-Nigerian Finance Minister Adeosun resigns
By Chijioke Ohuocha
ABUJA, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday accepted the resignation of Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun, a top cabinet member who promoted the government’s policy to boost growth following a recent recession.
In the last few months allegations surfaced in the Nigerian media that Adeosun used a forged exemption certificate to avoid participation in the country’s mandatory one-year national youth service scheme. She did not comment on the claims, prompting criticism from her opponents.
Buhari took office in 2015 after an election campaign largely fought on his vow to fight corruption, but his detractors have accused him of failing to investigate allies accused of wrongdoing.
A former investment banker, Adeosun was appointed by Buhari to head Africa’s biggest economy in November 2015. Her flagship policy was a bid to improve tax collection and shore up the country’s finances by cracking down on mismanagement by government agencies.
Adeosun also oversaw a strategy of restructuring Nigeria’s debt portfolio into longer term maturities by borrowing more offshore and less at home to lower costs.
The presidency approved that the minister of state for budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed, would oversee the Finance Ministry with immediate effect, it said on its official Twitter account.
The west African country emerged from recession last year, but growth remains sluggish and largely dependent on higher oil prices, despite the stated aim of Buhari’s administration to increase non-oil revenues.
The government’s handling of the economy is likely to be a campaign issue in February’s presidential election in which Buhari plans to seek a second term. (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha Additional reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram in Lagos Editing by Leslie Adler)