DMO tasks public officers on corruption, borrowed funds

Photo; talkingbiznews

Photo; talkingbiznews

The Debt Management Office (DMO) has expressed worry over the rate of corruption in Nigeria, especially with the gross misuse and embezzlement of borrowed public funds by Public Officers.

It also exonerated itself of blame over the financial crisis being experienced by many state governments, explaining that the majority of public officers, who have plunged their states into indebtedness, had refused DMO’s advice during the loan process.
Director General of the agency, Mr. Abraham Nwankwo, who dropped the hint in Enugu at the weekend during a one–day sensitisation workshop for Civil Society groups in the country, said the debt profile of state governments has continued to rise because many of them misused borrowed funds.

“As part of efforts to ease the financial burden of the debts on the states, the Management office recently rescheduled them into government bonds and stretched it further than it should have been,” he said, stressing that the implication was that the states now owes the Federal Government rather than the banks.

Nwankwo specifically said the DMO was concerned about misuse of public funds those in public or political office.

He said: “Certainly, it bothers DMO — as it bothers any reasonable individual or institution in the country. And, as you know, the emphasis of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is on ensuring that resources, whether borrowed or not, are transparently accounted for. And for DMO, that is very inspiring for us; because, as debt managers, we are very much concerned with the efficiency or effectiveness the use of resources because it is one of the ways to ensure that you do not borrow so much and ensure that whatever you have collected as revenue is well utilised.

“If you maximise the use of what you have collected as revenue, the gap left for you to borrow will be less. So for us as debt management people, we are concerned and we are keen in making sure that resources are transparently, efficiently, effectively managed; that wastes are minimised; that leakages are minimized because for us that’s part and parcel of effective debt management; that you only borrow to cover things that you will inevitably not cover from revenue.”

On whether the DMO has keyed into President Buhari’s fight against corruption, Nwankwo declared: “The DMO has always stood against corruption to the extent that we try to make sure that all governments and their agencies follow the guidelines while borrowing, and making sure that we monitor what they do to the extent that our mandate allows us.

“We are not essentially a monitoring agency but we do interact with monitoring agencies and encourage them to do their job effectively so that projects and programmes are well monitored; so that resources whether borrowed or not, are used effectively and efficiently.

“So we are fully keyed into the anti-corruption fight of the Buhari government by making sure that public debt is efficient and effective; there are no wastes; that we don’t encourage governments to borrow, except for necessary, important projects that will add to the growth and development of the economy and the well being of the people.”

He said the DMO has keyed into Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade to stamp out the monster from all sectors.

On the objectives of the workshop, he said: “DMO has a policy of making sure that we democratise knowledge of public debt management. It means we have to make sure that the general public and various stakeholders understand what we do.

“When we talk of public debt management; why does Nigeria borrow? How does Nigeria manage her debt? How does the DMO help governments to solve various problems to encourage growth, development and poverty reduction?”

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