The Nigerian Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, on Wednesday advised that the nation’s management systems should be strengthened.
She gave the advice in a statement in Abuja by her Special Adviser on Media, Mr Festus Akanbi.
Adeosun said that the diversion of public funds was made possible by weaknesses in the management of resources.
“I have observed that even the most basic systems and controls over the management of our resources are in dire need of strengthening.
“While we are regaled with and shocked by details of amounts stolen, diverted or wasted, we must face the cold reality that such acts are facilitated by weaknesses in our systems.
“Even if we successfully prosecute and jail every looter, ghost worker and other economic saboteurs, there is every risk that those caught will only be replaced by persons who are just as bad.’’
Adeosun said that unless “we radically strengthen our systems and institutions, we won’t be able to enhance transparency, accountability and frugality’’.
The minister said the current administration was all out to fight corruption and the aim was to execute an economic plan to channel monies recovered into much needed areas to reposition the economy.
Adeosun said that the Federal Government was undertaking strategies to stimulate the economy and expand government spending on infrastructure.
She said that the revenue focus to achieve this was non oil which had given rise to revenue generated from other sectors of the economy such as the ports and telecommunications.
“In customs, we are making the necessary investments in container scanners and other equipment required in improving collection efficiency.
“With Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) there is a well-defined plan to enhance compliance by widening the tax net.
“Using data to drive tax compliance, we will ensure that the tax regime is efficiently administered and that everyone pays their fair share,’’ she said.
The minister said performance would no longer be measured by the size of the budget or the amount disbursed, but by the impact of that expenditure on the lives of Nigerians.
“We have abandoned the old system of capital releases that funneled a proportional share of available funds released to each Ministry, Department and Agency.
“We have a robust system in place where funds are tied to specific outcomes as documented by each agency.
“This is being supported by follow up reviews to ensure implementation.’’