Monday, April 3, 2017 6:30 pm
The Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption says President Muhammadu Buhari is fighting corruption on all fronts and is determined to use the country’s resources to enhance the citizen’s lives.
The Executive Secretary of the Committee, Prof. Bolaji Owosanoye, made the remarks in New York at a workshop on ‘Illicit Financial Flows and Assets Recovery’ on Monday.
The Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was jointly organised by the Permanent Missions of Nigeria and Norway to the UN.
“Nigeria has taken a number of radical steps to affirm the commitment to fight illicit financial flows, diminish corruption and the responsible use of recovered assets.
“Some of the measures include the establishment of a very high-level Presidential Committee on Asset Recovery to address first, the Financial Action Task Force Recommendation 31 on Cooperation.
“This committee brings all the Heads of those agencies who have to deal with these issues, together.
“The government created an assets recovery account so that all the assets that are recovered b the country go into one account to remove the opacity of reconciliation that had dogged the country in the past and the report of re-looting of returned assets.
“So everything goes into one account. It introduced what we called the Treasury Single Account (TSA) because before, domestically, when government agencies and departments earned revenue, the law is that it must go into the consolidated revenue fund.
“But many agencies of government plead all manner of things including under-budgeting, under-funding and they retain money that they earn in the course of their operations and spend it illegally without appropriation with the collusion of the banks.
“Because you cannot do it without the banks; so the government has enforced that regulation of what we call the Treasury Single Account and it is the one that sustained the government in this very dire economic time.
“Because all of the revenue that was coming in before, that was offline because it was not getting into the consolidated revenue fund, the accounts have been shut down and the money must go to the source.
Owosanoye said Nigeria is a leading voice against corruption given the unrelenting commitment of Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The presidential aide also explained how the Federal Government has managed the recovered funds and assets from public officials.
“Then of course, it has established an inter-agency asset tracking team, which is meant to centralise the management of recovered assets, prevent re-looting and mismanagement.
“Also, the government created an asset recovery line item in the budget so that if we are able to recover asset both locally and internationally since you need the power of parliament to spend.
“You have put there (budget) that this statement of income and expenditure, this year I hope to recover from Politically Exposed Persons within Nigeria or through bilateral negotiations.
“And through legal proceedings from outside the country, the money will go for this purpose. So it’s created a line item so if recovered items are raised during the year, the money can be properly spent.
“Of course, that spending is subject to the oversight of the legislature, civil society and other international development partners.
“Recovered and returned assets are also applied to very clear projects. It’s in the government policy; exclusively to social investment programmes towards helping the government meet SDGs. This is the current government policy.”
He said a major social investments programme, the N-Power, was designed to train 500,000 unemployed graduates and artisan, with 200,000 people already employed to date.
Owosanoye added that Home Grown School Feeding Programme, which targeted 5.5 million children, has already reached 3.5 million children to date.
The presidential aide added that the Conditional Cash Transfers programme of five thousand naira monthly to one million beneficiaries has 69,870 already reached to date.
“Enterprise and Empowerment Programme for financial inclusion and access to credit for 1.66 million beneficiaries, has 23,790 already reached.
“There is also the Bursary Programme for 100,000 tertiary students in education, science, technology and engineering,” he said.