- Cape Verde’s Minister of Finances and Public Administration, João Serra, is leaving his post. The Finance Minister has cited personal reasons for resigning from Prime Minister José Maria Neves’ cabinet.
The Prime Minister is expected to announce a new name to head the Ministry of Finances and Public Administration to President Pedro Pires before the end of the day today, September 6. According to A Semana Online’s sources, Serra’s replacement will be economist Cristina Duarte, who recently coordinated Cape Verde’s Privatization Office.
João Serra’s exit had been postponed since the last cabinet shuffle, following legislative elections earlier this year. At the time, Neves managed at the last minute to convince Serra not to leave the cabinet, and, according to A Semana Online’s sources, Serra only agreed to remain in the government on the condition that his stay in the position be a temporary solution. Serra was allegedly convinced to stay in the cabinet with the argument that a number of sensitive dossiers remained to be completed after the elections - namely, Cape Verde’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other development partners, which in recent times have been vocal in their praise of the job carried out in the cleansing of Cape Verde’s public finances. The World Bank, for example, placed Cape Verde in second place on its ranking of 76 poor and developing countries in terms of good governance for the year 2005.
As a result, Serra’s decision to resign is being seen by Cape Verdean observers as the exit of one of the government’s best ministers. Serra’s uncompromising and strict policies garnered him the admiration of advocates of good governance and rigor in the management of public finances, but also generated a certain rancor among those who, for one reason or another, felt they were jeopardized by the measures he advocated and put into practice. Indeed, during his tenure as Finance Minister, Serra was the object of slander coming from individuals who saw him as one of the cabinet’s firmest and most resolved officials.
Serra, who has just returned to Cape Verde from Brazil, where he underwent a battery of medical analyses, cited personal and health-related reasons for his resignation, but he has exited leaving the house in order, without any outstanding payments due to the Bank of Cape Verde, with public employees being paid on time, with service payments on Cape Verde’s debt up-to-date, and with a number of the country’s development partners injecting their aid directly into the State Budget. But he is also leaving with the crisis in the Customs Department unresolved, and without having managed to fulfill his famous promise to “put an end to waste in public service.”
Cristina Duarte is expected to be named the new Minister of Finances and Public Administration.
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