By Jacinta Nwachukwu/Monday Ijeh
Abuja – The Federal Government says in an effort to fight corruption, it has saved over N17 billion from foreign trips, sitting allowances and souvenir gifts usually shared during events.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, disclosed this at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mohammed said that the present administration introduced an efficiency unit in the Ministry of Finance to ensure that the resources of government were not frittered on trivialised grants.
According to him, the fight against corruption must not be based on the number of people that are jailed or prosecuted, but on efforts made to curtail corruption.
“We promised that we are going to fight corruption; people keep asking us what is your score card in corruption?
“Our score card in corruption must not be looked at just from the view point of how many people have been arrested; how many have been prosecuted and how many have been jailed.
“In addition to whatever achievement we must have made in that respect, I think what is most important for the main time is the efforts this government has put in place to ensure that there is transparency in governance.
“This is to ensure that the resources of government actually go to government account and to ensure that it is actually used for the purpose of what it’s meant for.
“And I will start with the TSA; the Treasury Single Account we did not invent it; we met it,’’ he said.
Mohammed further said that before the present administration took over power, TSA was haphazardly implemented to the extent that about 22,000s of various government accounts were in various banks.
“ And we were paying heavy charges to banks; not that alone, we could not know exactly how much money we had to allocate it.
He also said that another thing the administration had done in fighting corruption was the whistle blowing policy.
According to him, the whistle blowing policy has lead to recoveries of N13.8 billion in tax evassion; N7.8 billion, 378 million dollars; 27,200 pounds from public officials who have been targeted by the whistle blowing policy.
“Another thing this government has achieved is that we introduced what is called an efficiency unit in the ministry of finance to ensure that the resources of government are not frittered on trivialised grants and excuses and today we saved about N17 billion from travels, souvenirs and sitting allowances.
He noted that before now government revenue generating agencies were not remitting so much money.(NAN)