Democracy Day: Nigerian govt recovers N500bn from whistle blowing, N200bn from ghost workers – Buhari

Democracy Day: Nigerian govt recovers N500bn from whistle blowing, N200bn from ghost workers – Buhari
May 29 21:50 2018

By Amed Idris

President Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday that the federal government has recovered N500 billion from its whistle-blowing policy and N200 billion from elimination of ghost workers in public service.

In a nationwide broadcast in Abuja to mark this year’s Democracy Day celebration, the President said: “The Treasury Single Account (TSA) has realized Billions of Naira being saved from maintenance fee payable to banks. N200 billion has also been saved from elimination of ghost workers in public service.

The Whistle-Blowing Policy has helped to recover over N500 billion.”

He said the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit set up with a mandate to validate controls, assess risks, prune personnel costs, ensure compliance with Public Financial Management reforms has helped to identify and remove over 52,000 ghost workers from the federal government’s MDAs payroll.

“The Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) aimed at expanding tax education and awareness has offered the opportunity for tax defaulters to regularise their status in order to enjoy the amnesty of forgiveness on overdue interest, penalties and the assurance of non-prosecution or subject to tax investigations,” he said.

‘Injects $650m into Sovereign Wealth Fund”

The President said the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) project portfolio has been expanded with an injection of US$650 million so as to strengthen its investment in local infrastructure, power, health, re-construction of Abuja-Kano road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, East West Road (Section V) and the Mambilla Hydro-electric Power project as well as the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge.

“Not Too Young To Run Bill” to be signed

The President said he would sign into law the ‘Not too Young to Run Bill’ in a few days’ time.

“In few days to come, I will be joined by many promising young Nigerians to sign into law the “Not Too Young to Run” Bill,” he said.

Keeps mum on Leah Sharibu

On security, the President said public safety and security remain the primary duty of the present administration, stressing that the capacity of Boko Haram insurgents has been degraded leading to the re-establishment of authority of government and the release of captives including 106 Chibok and 104 Dapchi girls, and over 16,000 other persons held by the Boko Haram.

He, however, did not say anything on the release of Leah Sharibu, the Dapchi school girl still being held by Boko Haram insurgents for allegedly refusing to denounce Christianity.

He said in order to minimise the impact of the insurgency on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the federal government has established secure IDPs camps and has improved the mechanism for the distribution of basic aid, foods and essential commodities using various strategies in collaboration with local and international organizations.

On other security challenges, the President said: “The unfortunate incidences of kidnappings, herdsmen and farmers clashes in several communities which have led to high number of fatalities and loss of properties across the country is being addressed and the identified culprits and their sponsors shall be made to face the full wrath of the law. All the three tiers of government are presently engaged with communities and religious organizations to restore peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.

“I want to commend members of the Multinational Joint Task Force drawn from Niger, Benin, Chad, Cameroon and our own country in collaboration with the International Community who are assisting in the fight against insurgency in the North East. I also commend the gallantry of members of our Armed Forces and other security agencies that have continued to provide security for lives and properties across the country. State and Local traditional authorities are helping with much needed intelligence in this fight against insurgency.

“This administration is pained over the grievous loss of lives and properties occasioned by the carnage of insurgency and other forms of criminality in the country. I wish to assure Nigerians that we will not rest until all criminal elements and their sponsors are brought to justice. Government is boosting the capacity of our security agencies through recruitment of more personnel, training and procurement of modern equipment, enhancement of intelligence gathering as well as boosting their morale in the face of daunting challenges.

“The Niger Delta Region has enjoyed relative peace through social inclusiveness and cooperation of the Elders and the good people of the region. Government is committed to implementing the comprehensive peace, security and development plan for the region. The environmental clean-up of the region which commenced with the launch in Bodo, Ogoni in June, 2016 is progressing satisfactorily. Furthermore farming assets are being revived and investors in cocoa and palm oil plantations are showing serious interest.”

‘No hiding place for looters’

The President also spoke on the ongoing war against corruption in the country, saying there is no hiding place for those who stole government money.

“The fight against corruption through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has resulted in recoveries of Billions of Naira, as well as forfeiture of various forms of assets. This alongside other efforts has improved Nigeria’s international image and regional cooperation.

“We have retained the services of one of the world’s leading assets tracing firms to investigate and trace assets globally. This is in addition to the exploitation of provisions of existing Treaties, Conventions as well as Bilateral Agreements with Multilateral bodies and Nations. Nigeria has also signed Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements to ensure that there is no hiding place for fugitives,” he said.