…. As Adeshina says FG renewed AfDB’s Nigerian Trust Fund for another 10 years***
The Federal Government on Monday in Osogbo, the Osun State capital indicated that it has uncovered the pilfering of by some 15 Government revenue generating agencies a whooping sum of N8.1 trillion, an equivalent of an annual budget, which the agencies failed to remit to the Federation Account, between 2010 and 2015.
The disclosure however failed to elicit the kind of tumultuous ovation expected, as some members of the audience, signified being bored with such disclosure.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who made the disclosure while representing President Muhammadu Buhari at the inauguration of the 10 kilometre channelisation and desilting of Okomo and Ogbagba rivers in Osogbo, the fraud was discovered through the audit of the agencies by KPMG.
“Recently, the Federal Government ordered an audit (between 2010 and 2015) of 15 government revenue generating agencies.
“The result was the discovery that the agencies had not remitted over 8.1 trillion Naira to the Federation Account.
“This amount is about six times the 1.34 trillion Naira that was stolen by 55 people between 2006 and 2015”, the Minister stated, noting that the sum was actually an equivalent, on the average, of the country’s yearly national budget!
“Imagine, for a moment, how many kilometres of roads could have been constructed, how many kilometres of rail tracks that could have been laid.
“Imagine, also how many modern hospitals and schools that could have been built if that money had been properly accounted for’, he stated further, but totally declined to mention names of the agencies involved.
He said the government “will not stop talking about those who have looted the public treasury, despite the pushback from their apologists”.
“If we do not stop the looting of the treasury, there will be no money for the kind of projects we are commissioning here in Osogbo today.
Corroborating the Lai Mohammed’s position, the Osun Governor, Rauf Aregbesola said the fraud was discovered because the National Economic Council (NEC) ordered the audit of the accounts of the 15 revenue generation agencies.
The NEC, is the highest economic decision making body in the country and was presided over by the Vice President with 36 state governors, FCT Minister and other key ministers as members.
Aregbesola said the NEC constituted a committee headed by Gov Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe on the probe of the unremitted fund collected by the agencies on behalf of the government. Governor Aregbesola also refused to mention the names of the agencies, other than that the NEC has approved the extension of the probe to 2017.
In the meantime, the Federal Government has renewed its agreement with the African Development Bank (ADB) on the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF) for additional 10 years.
President of the Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina highlighted the renewal on Monday in Busan, South Korea, at the inaugural news conference of the banks 44th Annual General Meetings in the Asian country.
Adesina said the development was communicated to the bank on Monday by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, before the expiration of the NTF agreement in 2018.
It is meant to assist the development efforts of the bank’s low-income regional member countries which economic and social conditions and prospects require concessional financing.
Its initial capital of 80 million dollars was replenished in 1981 with 71 million dollars.
In 2008, Nigeria and the bank agreed to a 10-year extension of the NTF.
According to him, the bank is evaluating the programme in appreciation of Nigeria’s gesture in assisting many countries and people across Africa.
On the theme of the meeting: “Accelerating Africa’s Industrialisation’’, the president said the right skills were needed by African countries to drive industrialisation.
He urged Africa to invest in ICT, science and technology as well as make strong innovation to achieve knowledge-based economy.
Adesina called on African universities to make fundamental changes in their curricula to provide competent and specific skills needed by labour and key industries.
“Insecurity arising from poverty and lack of employment in Africa must be addressed toward achieving rapid industrialisation on the continent”, Adeshina stated further, noting that the local governments and communities had fundamental roles to play in this aspect, and stressed that industrialization, if properly managed, could significantly reduce inequality.