Buhari mandates Adeosun to manage seized assets from treasury looters
President Muhammadu Buhari has empowered the Federal Ministry of Finance to manage seized assets, including jewelries worth billions of naira recovered from suspected treasury looters, meaning the assets are being sold to raise funds for Government to finance projects captured in the 2016 fiscal appropriation .
Also, the sum of N60 billion is being released to Ministries Departments and Agencies ( MDAs) of the Federal Government to fund the budget, bringing the amount so far released for capital votes between May this year when the fiscal plan was signed by the President and now to N460 billion.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who revealed this yesterday in an interaction with newsmen on the state of the economy, expressed shock at the amount of jewelries seized, saying they are frightening.
Mrs. Adeosun said: “Very soon I will invite you again to come and see how they have been spending your money in the past. The Ministry of Finance has been handed over assets siezed from the treasury looters for management and among them include jewelries worth the cost of several houses. We have been mandated to manage them and raise funds to implement the budget.
“You would also be shocked to find out that they were spending more money on travels, than on road infrastructure.
They also spent more on drinks than they spent on housing or other infrastructure . That is why we have a big challenge with growth now. Most of the things we should be manufacturing locally had our infrastructure been fixed are being imported now, which is pilling pressure on the Naira and weakening it with the attendant consequences of inflation.
“But now we are changing the narrative. That is why things may appear to be slow, because we are taking tough decisions and each policy decision is thoroughly thought through to ensure we do not make mistakes. We are making progress all the same, cutting down on redundancies and loopholes for corruption.
“For instance, the Federal Government’s independent revenue generating agencies have for the first time in many years remitted the sum of N200 billion to the consolidated revenue fund of the Federal Government because of the Treasury Single Account and the daily monitoring of the agencies. We are therefore confident that with improved investment in key infrastructure to improve our competitiveness in investment, we will soon get out of the challenging economic situation we are in momentarily.”
On why about N3 trillion of unspent Government funds remained stocked at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) vaults and why contractors are being owed, the Finance Minister explained that not every of the unspent funds belong to the Federal Government. According to her, there are portions that belong to joint venture partners, development finance institutions and in most instances, state governments too .
She however said the Accountant-General of the Federation has now been mandated to segregate the unspent balances into the various sub-stream to enable the Federal Government know the actual portion that belongs to it for appropriate action. Mrs Adeosun blamed contractors’ debt crisis on over-hang inherited from the past administration, adding that some of the debts being settled now were contracted in 2012.