Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday said that Nigeria has recovered about N7.8 billion, $378 million and £27,800 through the Whistleblower’s Policy launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in December 2016.
He made the remark at the opening of the Open Government Partnership, (OGP) week holding at the Nigerian Airforce Headquarters, Abuja, where he represented President Buhari.
According to him, the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit, PICA, which oversees the Whistleblower’s Policy in the Ministry of Finance, has also helped the government save over N200 billion by eliminating ghost workers.
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and publicity, Laolu Akande, the Vice President noted that PICA was established to clean up the payroll and pension system across all the ministries, departments and agencies.
He said government has included recovered assets in the country’s annual budget since 2017 and invested them in the development of infrastructure as well as in the Social Investment Programme.
“All funds forfeited to the federal government are being included in our yearly budget proposals, for appropriation by the National Assembly,” he stated.
According to him, an executive bill has been sent to the National Assembly for the purpose of enacting a more comprehensive legislation on proceeds of crime.
Osinbajo said the Nigerian government was leveraging technology in a way that it has not been done before to underpin the President Buhari’s commitment to transparent and accountable governance.
He said: “Nigeria’s experience has shown that technology and innovation tools as well as social media platforms are changing the ways in which citizens engage with government, and empowering citizens and non-state actors to take a more active role in holding government to account.”
Professor Osinbajo also said that the measures taken by the government to fight corruption since the inception of the administration in May 2015 included the implementation of the Single Treasury Account, TSA, “that existed mainly as an idea, without the appetite for serious implementation” and the establishment of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC.
Other measures, according to him, were a National Open Contracting Platform (NOCOPO) developed by the Bureau for Public; the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) launched its Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Contracts Disclosure Portal in September 2017 to ensure the timely disclosure of contract information from project initiation through to implementation; and the Citizens’ I-Monitor Portal developed by the Budget office through the open Budget Survey Index.
He said Nigeria was committed to joining the OGP “an international multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving transparency, accountability, citizen participation and responsiveness to citizens through technology and innovation” at London Anti-Corruption Summit in May 2016 and became the 70th member of the organization in July 2017.
Following this, the OGP Nigeria developed its first National Action Plan, NAP, of fourteen commitments with focus on four thematic areas of Fiscal Transparency, Anti-Corruption, Access to Information and Citizens’ Engagement.
“One of the remarkable things about the OGP is that it was designed to function as a partnership between governments and the private sector. Without this coalition-building, I doubt that much progress would be achievable. Regardless of whether the goal is improving infrastructure or fighting corruption, it is clear, and
it has always been, that governments cannot do it alone”
In his welcome remarks, Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who is the Co-chair OGP National Steering Committee, said five states in Nigeria has keyed into the OGP programme.
The states include Kaduna, Kano, Anambra, Ebonyi and Niger.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright, announced that the UK ministers have approved a new funding stream of 12 million pounds for priorities like Nigeria to deepen and implement open government reform committee.