President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said that transparency and accountability would henceforth be the cornerstone of public institutions after reducing corruption in the country.
Buhari, represented by the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris, said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the 22nd Annual Conference of Certified National Accountants.
The three day conference, with the theme “Sustainable Economic Management in a Recession: Issues, Strategies and Options”, was organised by the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN).
He said that Nigeria would not have gone into recession if the nation’s numerous resources were appropriately managed, corruption duly checked, patriotism deeply imbibed in everything.
“To strengthen the fight against corruption, we launched the Whistle Blower Policy and presented a Whistle Blower Protection Bill 2016 to the National Assembly in order to encourage and protect Nigerians for supporting this fight.
“It is interesting to note that part of the stolen funds recovered is being used by government to finance the 2017 budget.
“Also, a firm implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) since September 2015, has significantly enhanced transparency in the Federal Government’s Public Financial Management System.
“We are presently doubling our efforts in further fixing the problems and challenges facing Nigeria. This, we will continue to do with all determination, dedication and sincerity,” he said.
The President expressed the determination of his administration to the diversification of the economy away from oil.
He highlighted some of the government’s efforts on this to include the Agricultural Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.
“This has been carefully designed and prudently implemented since inception. So far over 200,000 small holder farmers cultivating some 233,000 hectares of farmland in 29 states have benefited.
“We have revolutionised rice production to allow for national self sustenance and have impacted on fertilizer availability which eventually led to a sharp drop in the fertilizer price from N13,000 to N5,500 per 50Kg bag.
“Interestingly, power generation has peaked to an all-time high of 7,001 Megawatts in the third quarter of 2017, while aiming at 10,000 Megawatts by year 2020.
“Furthermore, the strength of our Naira against the US Dollar is a story of building confidence on the entire economy, from N525 to a dollar in February this year to N360 today,” he said.
Buhari called on the indigenous accountants to support government’s efforts and actively participate in all matters of national interest for the betterment of Nigeria.
The Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr Anthony Ayine, urged accountants to use their skills to fight for transparency in the country’s financial system.
“It is clear that the massive looting of our national wealth by identified individuals could not have taken place outside the purview of the financial system without the knowledge of accountants.
“So, we as professionals have contributed to the problem confronting this country today and we must help get the country out of it, ‘’he said.
The ANAN President, Mr Shehu Ladan, commended President Buhari’s administration for its stance against corruption and related vices.
“We are encouraged by the performance of both the Customs and FIRS in revenue collection. We, however, feel strongly that more can be done in areas of tax collection.
“Government can as a matter of policy ensure that all registered companies submit audited accounts.
“The revenues of such companies can be verified by auditors and taxes from such revenues can be more accurate,” he said.
Laden said that this would create more jobs and also meant more taxes for the government.