James Emejo in Abuja
Former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has been commended for spearheading some of the critical reforms in the fiscal space.
Specifically, experts said she was a key actor in the country’s eventual exit from recession, by reshaping policies, which put the economy on the growth trajectory.
For instance, Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, said Adeosun was a major compliment to the economic team, as she possessed adequate knowledge of the workings of fiscal policy.
Besides, Rewane said the former minister understood the fiscal stimuli that the country needed to get out of recession and helped the economy recover faster despite the high interest rate regime at the period.
“She targeted fiscal spending to areas that needed growth, which was complimentary to the fiscal side,” he said.
Similarly, Professor Richard Mayungbe, who heads the Nigerian chapter of the Institute of forensic accountants, said Mrs Adeosun recorded a lot of achievements when she was in office.
According to him: “She introduced the whistle-blower policy, which has helped the government to recover a lot of funds,” he said.
“She also actively implemented the TSA policy. She had introduced this policy when she was commissioner of finance in Ogun State. The integrated payroll system, which has helped to expose ghost workers was also one of her achievements.
“There is also a software that the Customs is using now to make their work more efficient. That was her initiative. Finally, although she did not introduce Biometric Verification Number (BVN), she ensured the policy was continued and fully complied with.”
Likewise, the Managing Director, Crane Securities Limited, Mr. Mike Eze, said Adeosun’s tenure was beneficial to the capital market and the economy.
He said: “He said among various developmental initiatives were Green Bond and Sukuk Bond floated under her watch. Having worked in the capital market and financial circle, she supported the bonds wholly and both of them were highly successful.”
He added: “Her regime was beneficial to the market and economy. Nigeria went into recession and also exit recession under her watch due to her prudent management. She also implemented the treasury single account, which has saved the economy and the government billions of naira and brought proper accountability to the system. She has a very strong character, which is needed to run an economy of any nation.”
Speaking in the same vein, Former Chairman, Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria and Managing Director, Compass Securities Limited, Mr. Emeka Madubuike, said that the former minister was close to the Capital Market Planning Committee that fashioned out the 25 years capital market plan.
According to him: “Through the instrument, both the green and sukuku bond were floated which was a huge success.”
The former minister, among other initiatives, played leading roles in the development of various cost cutting initiatives through the pursuit of carefully thought out policies aimed at promoting transparency in the payment process, drastic reviews of the procurement process, the sanitisation of the public-sector payroll system, leading to the elimination of huge number of ghost workers, amongst other laudable objectives.
Adeosun was particularly pivotal to the introduction of a landmark whistle-blower policy, which was designed to boost public participation in the fight against corruption.
Under the policy, the federal government had directly recovered the sum of N7.8 billion, US$378 million and GBP27,800.
In May 2018, the government paid N439,276,099.86 to about 14 whistle-blowers who gave specific tips on tax evasion.
The policy was further designed to support the fight against graft by exposing financial crimes and rewarding credible informants of such malfeasance.
Also, through specific information provided on companies, which underpaid their taxes, the government was able to recover the sum of N13.8 billion. The Whistle-blower policy has helped tremendously in facilitating recoveries of ill-gotten funds and assets.
Also, one of her signature interventions was the setting up of the Efficiency Unit barely two weeks after her assumption of office as Minister of Finance. The unit was established to reduce wastages, promote efficiency, ensure prudence and add value for money in all government expenditures.
Furthermore, the unit was able to entrench better management of certain recurring processes and activities relating to travels, sitting allowances, souvenirs, and others resulting in savings.
Following the initiative, the sum of N34 billion was saved on travel and transport for 2016 compared to 2015 figures and a further N58 billion on same travel and transport in 2017 compared to 2016.
Moreover, the efficiency unit of the ministry saved N24 billion on office stationeries and computer consumables in 2016 as against the previous year and a further N10 billion in 2017 compared to 2016 expenditure on the same line item.
Besides, the policies entrenched by Adeosun also promoted transparency in the payments system including procurement as well as harmonisation of the insurance process of all critical assets/liabilities of government for all MDAs, a process which is still ongoing.