Very soon, FG transactions won’t be done in secret –Buhari

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has said very soon, no government financial transactions will be done in secret as his regime implements various reforms to curb corruption.

He spoke on Tuesday in Kaduna at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s Detective Inspector Course Five Passing-Out Parade.

 “My resolve is to ensure that the reforms are deepened such that there will be no hiding place for corrupt persons and proceeds of corruption. My aim is to ensure that no government financial transaction is done in secret and all are subjected to public scrutiny.

 “The objective of this administration is to institute a level of transparency in governance through mainly information technology platforms. Just as advanced democracies and some developing countries, I am determined that within a short period, citizens would be able to follow core government operations online,” his media aide, Mr Garba Shehu, quoted the President in a statement.

 Giving an instance on how his regime made progress on fiscal transparency, Buhari said the appropriation bill could be accessed online within hours of its presentation in the National Assembly.

 “The Budget Office of the Federation has been engaging interest groups in the budget cycle. A pilot scheme of 10 Ministries, Departments and Agencies has been test-running online display of their budgets and expenditure movements,” he added.

 Buhari also said the regime’s “commitment to online disclosure of Beneficial Owners of Companies generally within the framework of the Corporate Affairs Commission and in the extractive industries through the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative,” was on course.

“I am aware that the portals are ready but owners of companies are unwilling to comply with all disclosure requirements. May I use this opportunity to urge all well-meaning Nigerians to fully comply,” he stated further.

 Buhari stated that various national reforms and collaborative efforts with international organisations were designed to strengthen anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria.

The President added, “We have been working within the framework of the National Action Plan for Open Government Partnership; theNational Anti-Corruption Strategy, which is an adaptation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, and the Global Forum for Asset Recovery.

“Several of the reforms have been effective for several years with great impact on revenue and expenditure management. These include, the Government Integrated, Financial and Management Information System; Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System; Single Treasury Account; and the Bank Verification Number.

“Executive Orders, such as the Preservation of Suspicious Assets Connected with Corruption (Executive Order 6); Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit Act 2018; and the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2018, have been operating for a few years and effectively limiting system opportunities for corrupt practices.”

According to Buhari, the regime’s war against corruption is also getting international endorsements.

The President, who praised the EFCC, noted that, “I have listened attentively to the report in the speech presented by the Chairman of the EFCC. The report is an attestation that the right policies have been put in place to fight corruption and the fight is becoming much more effective.

 “I make bold to say that Nigeria is winning the war against corruption.  I congratulate the EFCC on its good work and I urge that the current level of success be sustained and accelerated.”

 The acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, had earlier told the session that “the EFCC on its part is currently developing its Statement of Strategy for 2020 to 2025, in line with the five pillars of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

 “This was preceded by an earlier strategic plan which was successfully implemented.”

Magu reiterated the commission’s zeal to confront corruption headlong, noting that the menace was deadlier than cancer, Corona virus, Ebola and Lassa fever put together.

The EFCC boss said, “Like Mr President has said, if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria. That is why the mission’s commitment to eliminate corruption in Nigeria assumed a more systematic posture from 2016 with the development of a National Anti-Corruption Strategy and the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan which were launched in 2017.”
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