No Criticism Can Deter Govt From Going After Looters – Adeosun


BY COBHAM NSA, ABUJA – The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, on Tuesday said the Federal Government would not be deterred by any form of criticism in going after those that stole public funds and corruptly enriched themselves to the detriment of Nigerians.

Disclosing this in Washington DC, the minister said the whistle blower policy is a key part of government’s domestic agenda to significantly reduce ‘leakages’ of public funds, and improved efficiency in public expenditure.

Addressing senior representatives from the World Bank and IMF, as well as over 150 parliamentarians at the ongoing World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings in Washington DC, Mrs Adeosun said: “We are going after those who have stolen our money. We have put in place a very successful whistle blower programme that is delivering results, and allows those who report illicit activity to receive up to 5% of any funds that we recover.”

“We are also significantly improving our financial management controls to ensure that it is considerably more difficult for public funds to be diverted. We have to do more though and that means collaboration with the legislature”, she said.

The Minister, who also explained that the federal government was considering an enhanced tax sector performance to address the nation’s infrastructure deficit and accelerate implementation of critical projects, said, “We need tighter tax and financial reporting legislation and to ratify bilateral agreements so that our enforcement agencies are empowered to deliver the results that we need.”

A statement by the Special Adviser on Media to the Minister, Festus Akanbi, said Mrs Adeosun also called for greater African and international collaboration on illicit financial flows to drive accelerated revenue growth and improved government efficiency.

In her opening address to the Global Parliamentary Conference, alongside parliamentarians from around the world, the Minister focused on Nigeria’s economic reform agenda and the need for strong executive and legislative collaboration, stressing that greater focus on collaboration in illicit financial flows from Africa is a core pillar of the government’s strategy to significantly enhance domestic government revenue and deliver sustainable economic growth.

According to her, “The government is focused on resetting the Nigerian economy by addressing our traditional over-reliance on oil revenues and establishing the basis for sustainable non-oil revenue growth. To improve non-oil revenues, we have to address illicit capital flows. When stolen money is transferred from Nigeria, or other African countries, there are too few questions asked by those countries that receive the funds, but when we identify those funds as stolen and seek to recover them, there are too many questions being asked.

“There is money sitting in foreign bank accounts that we have spent over a decade trying to recover. That is money that could deliver significant value for Nigeria as we seek to increase spending on critical infrastructure and establish a basis for long term sustainable growth. I hope that the Automatic Exchange of Information scheme coming into force next year will be a step towards achieving greater transparency, but we need more collaboration amongst parliamentarians in Africa, and across the World to ensure that this situation improves and that recipient countries are held to account,” she said.

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