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Buhari tackling Nigeria’s reputation abroad, says Osinbajo

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Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo (right); President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud SAN and Justice Patricia Mahmoud at the NBA 2017 annual conference in Lagos…yesterday PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

The Federal Government is tackling corruption in the country as well as Nigeria’s poor reputation abroad. The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this while fielding questions during a session titled “Conversations with the Vice president” moderated by Miss Zain Asher, a CNN news anchor at the 2017 Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) National Conference in Lagos, yesterday.

When asked what was the most important reform embarked upon by the Buhari-led administration, Osinbajo said the administration had set a strong foundation for economic recovery.

“We were dealing with a mono-economy and a financial industry that was essentially opaque. We have set a foundation of rebuilding the economy, creating the Treasury Single Account (TSA), monitoring government spending, modified the tax system to be more efficient and implemented executive orders.

“We are currently in a situation where we have cleared the mess inherited by this administration. Government ownership of business encourages corruption, the more private sector involvement, the more efficient the system is, the less corrupt the system is.

“We are currently working on a ‘one- government system’ to tackle bureaucracy, for example if you need five different approvals from five government agencies, under this system communication with one agency is sufficient as all the agencies will liase with one other.’’

The vice president further stated that the administration has introduced technology into a lot of processes. For example, the company registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the less human contact, the less incidences of corruption.

“We must punish offenders, there must be consequences for offenders, fighting corruption is multi-sectoral. We have to work together. Convictions on corruption cases have been slow, from my experience as a former prosecutor, getting cases to court is slow, and the system allows a lot of inefficiencies.

“We have to try cases efficiently and secure convictions so people can see the consequences of corruption. The whole process of reform requires the three arms of government, we have tried to establish the Special Offences Court to combat corruption.”

He said government established the Beneficial Ownership Scheme, where wealthy Nigerians who have been avoiding paying their taxes have been given a 90-day period of grace after which if they don’t disclose what they own in order to pay tax, they will face the full wrath of the law.

According to him, government has gotten quite a few wealthy Nigerians approach to disclose what they own.


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