Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Presidentt Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Kaduna said following various reform agenda being implemented by his administration, all government financial transactions would be open for all to scrutinise soon.
Speaking in Kaduna at the Passing-Out Parade of Detective Inspector Course Five, of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the president said he had resolved to intensify the reforms until corrupt individuals no longer have a hidden place.
He also said the plan of the federal government was to ensure that a level of transparency was entrenched in the system through some technological devices.
“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,” he said.
A statement by presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said Buhari disclosed that the federal government’s pursuit of transparency in fiscal transactions is now at an advanced stage.
In pursuit of the reforms, Buhari said annual budgets can now be assessed online shortly after its presentation adding that the Budget Office works in consultation with relevant stakeholders.
“Our government has reached advanced stage in Fiscal Transparency. The Appropriation Bill is placed 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 MDAs has been test running online display of their budgets and expenditure movements,” he added.
Buhari also said the federal government’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 Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is on course.”
Submitting that “owners of companies are unwilling to comply with all disclosure requirements,” he appealed to “all well-meaning Nigerians to fully comply.”
He also said various national reforms and collaborative efforts with international organisations were designed to institutionally strengthen anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria.
“We have been working within the frameworks of National Action Plan for Open Government Partnership (OGP), National Anti-Corruption Strategy which is an adaptation of United Nations Convention Against Corruption and the Global Forum for Asset Recovery (GFAR).
“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 (GIFMIS), Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), Single Treasury Account, and Bank Verification Number (BVN).
“Executive Orders, such as Preservation of Suspicious Assets Connected with Corruption (Executive Order 6), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) Act 2018; and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2018 have been operating for a few years and effectively limiting system opportunities for corrupt practices.
“This administration, right from the inception, aligned with the Open Governance Partnership and Global Forum for Asset Recovery in addition to existing commitments to African Union and Economic Community of West African States’ Conventions Against Corruption, and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
“These frameworks focus significantly on systems reforms in order to prevent corruption. Nigeria’s active participation in these global anti-corruption platforms means that the country is subjecting itself to periodic review of its progress in implementing the articles of conventions thus the fight against corruption.”
Buhari commended the efforts of the EFCC in the war against corruption, saying with the right policies in place now, the fight against corruption is becoming more effective.
He argued that Nigeria was winning the war against corruption, congratulating the anti-graft agency “on its good work and I urge that the current level of success be sustained and accelerated.”
The statement said the acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, in his remarks, said “EFCC on its part is currently developing its statement of strategy for 2020 to 2025, in line with the five pillars of national anti-corruption strategy.”
It also said Magu disclosed that the agency, with the support of development partners, had built one of the best investigative laboratories in West Africa.
The laboratories, Magu added, had aided investigators and prosecutors in achieving accuracy and deployment of incontrovertible evidence in courts.
He also said communication was key to the overall success of the organisation’s activities.