President Muhammadu Buhari has decried the difficult hurdles placed by foreign countries in repatriating stolen funds saying those stringent conditions are unnecessary once a prima facie case is established.
President Buhari spoke yesterday in Abuja at the 24th Nigeria Economic Summit (NES 24) organized by the Nigeria Economic Summit Group in collaboration with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning. He was represented at the event by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The president said even the banks where illicit funds pass should be held to account, adding that there should be a lot more commitment against illicit transfers on the part of foreign countries that are now save heavens for illicit transfers.
He reiterated the federal government’s commitment to fighting “grand corruption” which he defined as direct looting of the treasury without providing any service.
Speaking on the economy, he said the government is concerned about deepening infrastructure provision even as he said the government has spent over N2.7trn on infrastructure provision in the last three years.
He said the government has increased the budget on agriculture from N8.8bn in 2015 to over N26bn in 2017, adding that the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the CBN has given out credit of over N120.6bn to finance 730,000 small holder farmers to cultivate 12 commodities.
Also speaking the event, the Minister of Budget and National Planning Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma said the theme of this year’s Summit is ‘Poverty to Prosperity: Making Governance & Institutions Work’. This topic provides another opportunity for us to examine the progress we are making in the achievement of the programmes, policies and objectives of the ERGP.
“We, at the Federal level, are working closely with the states through the National Economic Council (NEC) to strengthen the coordination required for enhanced implementation of the governance components of the ERGP, including monitoring the progress of States’ implementation of the 22-point Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP),” he said.
Furthermore, he said the government has also “introduced a 4-year strategic plan for Civil Service Reform which is being coordinated by the Head of Service. This aims to drive innovation in service and institutionalise a performance management system that is citizen-oriented. The President has also introduced some Executive Orders to improve service delivery and enhance transparency.”
In his welcome remarks Mr. Asue A. Ighodalo, the Chairman, NESG said Nigeria “remains vulnerable on multiple fronts – economic, social and political” regardless of the recent gains.
He said “these are underscored by negative trends in several socio-economic indicators.”