November 8, 2015 / 11:51 AM / 2 years ago

Nigeria's Buhari to swear in ministers on Wednesday

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 28, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari is to swear in members of his cabinet on Wednesday, a presidency statement said on Sunday, ending a five-month wait for a cabinet to be installed in Africa’s most populace nation.

The 72-year-old former military ruler, who was inaugurated in late May, has been criticized for waiting until September to name his ministers, who then underwent a month-long Senate vetting process. Portfolios will be assigned after ministers have been sworn in.

“President Muhammadu Buhari will officially inaugurate a new Federal Executive Council on Wednesday, November 11, 2015,” said the emailed statement from Buhari’s spokesman Femi Adesina.

“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,” it said, adding that this would begin at 10 am local time (0900 GMT).

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy and the continent’s top oil producer, faces its worst economic crisis in years brought on by the sharp fall in crude prices since it relies on oil exports for 70 percent of government revenue.

Critics of Buhari, who won March elections after campaigning to rid Nigeria of widespread corruption, said the absence of a ministers created a policy vacuum that exacerbated the economic problems brought on by the fall in oil prices.

Buhari took his 36 ministers on a retreat on Thursday and Friday during which they were handed documents, seen by Reuters, which outlined the state of the economy and the government’s policy goals.

Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Catherine Evans

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