President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that with the various reforms implemented by his administration, all government financial transactions will very soon be done in the open.
The President gave this assurance on Tuesday in Kaduna State during the Passing-Out Parade of Detective Inspector Course Five, of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“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,” Buhari said.
According to him, “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 said that 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.
“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.”
President Buhari added that various national reforms and collaborative efforts with international organisations are designed to institutionally strengthen Anti-Corruption agencies in Nigeria.
According to him: “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.”
In his remarks, the EFCC acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu said that “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. This was preceded by an earlier strategic plan which was successfully implemented.”
He added that the EFCC, with the support of development partners has built one of the best investigative laboratories in West Africa which has aided investigators and prosecutors in achieving accuracy and deployment of incontrovertible evidence in courts.