- Cape Verdean Prime Minister José Maria Neves today announced he had taken over the charges of Minister of Finance, following the sudden and surprising resignation of the hitherto Minister Carlos Burgo on Friday.
The resignation of Mr Burgo came at an inconvenient moment for the Cape Verdean government as the national budget for 2004 is to be presented to Parliament within few days. The budget has been elaborated under the guidance of Mr Burgo.
Instead of searching for a new candidate for the influential post at this delicate moment, Prime Minister Neves chose to take over the control of the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development himself. There were no indications to whether Mr Neves only would remain temporarily in this post or whether he intents to run his two work-intensive offices simultaneously on a permanent basis.
Then-Minister Burgo on Friday surprisingly had announced his retirement from office and emphasised that there only were "personal motives" for his decision. This was later also stressed by Prime Minister Neves, who further announced that there had not been any labour conflict whatsoever, motivating Mr Burgo to quit his post.
Nevertheless, the Cape Verdean capital Praia has during the last days been flooded by rumours regarding Mr Burgo's resignation. Already before the Friday announcement, unconfirmed reports held Mr Burgo was foreseen the new Governor of Cape Verde's Central Bank. Further nourishing rumours was the fact that Manuel Frederico, Secretary of State for Economy, left his post together with Mr Burgo.
45-year-old Carlos Burgo - born in Nova Sintra on the island of Brava - is an economist specialised in economic planning and is considered one of the archipelago's foremost specialists in the finance sector.
During his charge of the Ministry of Economy, Mr Burgo has led Cape Verde through classic structural reform policies under close monitoring of international finance institutions. During his two years, he has led the islands from close to zero growth to substantial economic growth.
The finance expert however also has met tremendous difficulties while in office and several of his Ministry's dispositions - in particular the slow velocity of the fight against poverty - have been questioned in Cape Verde.
Mr Burgo experienced his most difficult moment while in office in February this year, as an enquiry confirmed there had been serious irregularities in the account movements of the state during the last years. The work of the Minister, but in particular of his Ministry, was put in a bad light by these revelations.
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