President Surangel Whipps Jr. takes on direct management of the seven (7) out of the eight government ministries until Ministers are appointed and confirmed by the Senate.
A memo to all government directors from the Office of the President on Monday advised all that until Ministers are confirmed, all matters requiring approval of Ministers will be directed to President Whipps.
The process is usually normal for incoming Presidents when ministerial positions are yet to be filled.
Some of the responsibilities that would require a minister’s approval include approving personnel actions, requisitions and contractual agreements not assigned to Directors.
President Whipps has already sent two (2) nominees to the Senate, Kaleb Udui Jr. to the Ministry of Finance and Charles Obichang to the Ministry of Public Infrastructures, Industries & Commerce. Minister of State has been assigned to Vice President J. Uduch Senior and this position does not require Senate confirmation.
Ministries still pending President’s appointment include Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Community & Cultural Affairs, and Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism.
Asked when appointments for these ministries are expected, President Whipps said after the “re-alignment” of the ministries which would also determine the qualifications required for the ministers.
“Re-alignment” of ministries will require law to be enacted and could take a while depending on how fast congress would act on a bill changing the current ministries’ structures
Whipps said that this was not an unusual situation citing former President Ngiratkel Etpison’s term where he was without ministers for two years of his four-year term. Etpison was President from 1989 to 1993.