Minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, has told the World Bank and parliamentarians from across the world that the whistle-blowing policy of her ministry has been very successful.
Speaking at the global parliamentary conference hosted on the sidelines of the World Bank and IMF spring meetings in Washington DC, the minister highlighted Nigeria’s economic reform agenda and the need for strong executive and legislative collaboration.
“We are going after those who have stolen our money. We have put in place a very successful whistle blower programme that is delivering results, and allows those who report illicit activity to receive up to 5 percent any funds that we recover,” Adeosun said.
“We are also significantly improving our financial management controls to ensure that it is considerably more difficult for public funds to be diverted. We have to do more though and that means collaboration with the legislature.
“We need tighter tax and financial reporting legislation and to ratify bilateral agreements so that our enforcement agencies are empowered to deliver the results that we need.”
The whistle-blowing policy has aided the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in making recoveries across the country.
Adeosun also called for greater focus on collaboration in battling illicit financial flows from Africa.
She said this is a core pillar of the government’s strategy to significantly enhance domestic government revenue and deliver sustainable economic growth.
“The government is focused on resetting the Nigerian economy by addressing our traditional over-reliance on oil revenues and establishing the basis for sustainable non-oil revenue growth,” she said.
“To improve non-oil revenues, we have to address illicit capital flows. When stolen money is transferred from Nigeria, or other African countries, there are too few questions asked by those countries that receive the funds, but when we identify those funds as stolen and seek to recover them, there are too many questions being asked.
“There is money sitting in foreign bank accounts that we have spent over a decade trying to recover. That is money that could deliver significant value for Nigeria as we seek to increase spending on critical infrastructure and establish a basis for long term sustainable growth.
“I hope that the automatic exchange of information scheme coming into force next year will be a step towards achieving greater transparency, but we need more collaboration among parliamentarians in Africa, and across the world to ensure that this situation improves and that recipient countries are held to account.”
Senior representatives from the World Bank and IMF as well as over 150 parliamentarians attended the conference.