Era of transparency in governance nigh, Buhari promises


• Corruption deadlier than Coronavirus, Ebola, says Magu

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday declared that very soon all government financial transactions would be done in the open on account of the reforms being pursued by his administration.

Addressing the passing-out parade of the Detective Inspector Course 5 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Kaduna, the Nigerian leader stated: “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 transactions are 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 information technology platforms. Just as in advanced democracies and some developing countries, I am determined that within a short period, citizens would be able to follow core government operations online.

“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 on the budget cycle. A pilot scheme of 10 MDAs has been test-running online display of their budgets and expenditure movements.”

The president noted that the various reforms and collaborative efforts with international organisations were to strengthen the anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria.

The nation’s number one citizen went on: “We have been working within the frameworks of National Action Plan for Open Government Partnership (OGP); the 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 the 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 the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2018 have been operating for a few years and effectively limiting system opportunities for corrupt practices.”

He further said: “This administration, right from the inception, aligned with the Open Governance Partnership and Global Forum for Asset Recovery in addition to existing commitments to the 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.”

In his remarks, EFCC’s Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, stated that graft is deadlier than cancer, Coronavirus, Ebola and Lassa fever combined.He said: “Corruption is worse than cancer, Ebola virus, Coronavirus and all other deadly diseases put together. Corruption is responsible for the insecurity and other vices experienced in Nigeria today and if we can remove corruption from our system, the insecurity will disappear.”
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