6 ways Buhari is clearly fighting corruption even as he is in the UK

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President Buhari is in the UK, and has been for more than a month, since he traveled on January 19, 2017. Yet he seems to have put a lot in place that will enable him fight corruption and improve transparency in the country.

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Below are some ways as revealed by the federal government:

1. The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA)

PICA was set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to strengthen controls over Government finances through a continuous internal audit process across all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), particularly in respect of payroll.

Through the activities of PICA, a total of 53,000 erroneous payroll entries have been identified, with payroll savings of N198 billion achieved in 2016.

2. Budget Reforms

First, a Presidential Order was issued directing that all budgets of all Government Agencies be prepared in line with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), using a budget template developed for that purpose.

Second, the 2017 Budget was collated using a web-based application developed by the Budget Office of the Federation (BOF), for the first time ever.

Instead of the traditional method of hard copy submissions of budget proposals, Ministries, Departments and Agencies were asked to upload their proposals to the new budget preparation portal.

By replacing paper submissions with an audit-able and trackable online system, the 2017 budget preparation process was strengthened against manipulation and unauthorised alteration.

All MDA budget proposals were uploaded to the new system, for review and final collation by the Budget Office.

More than 4,000 staff of the MDAs were specially trained to use the new application, across multiple locations nationwide. Also to support the deployment of the budget portal, the Budget Office set up a Helpdesk, accessible by telephone and email, for authorised users.

3. Expansion of TSA Coverage

On August 7, 2015, President Buhari issued a directive to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to close their accounts with Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and transfer their balances to the Central Bank of Nigeria on or before 15th September 2015.

This decision to fully operationalise the Treasury Single Account (TSA) system—a public accounting system that enables the Government to manage its finances (revenues and payments) using a single/unified account, or series of linked accounts domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria — has resulted in the consolidation of more than 20,000 bank accounts previously spread across DMBs in the country.

It has also resulted in savings of an average of N4.7 billion monthly in banking charge.

4. Deployment of BVN for Payroll and Social Investment Programmes

Considering that personnel costs are the Federal Government’s largest expenditure line, the Federal Government has given priority to the deployment of the BVN for payroll and pension audits.

The use of BVN to verify payroll entries on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) platform has so far led to the detection of 53,000 erroneous payroll entries.

The Federal Government has also ensured the deployment of BVN system to serve as the verification basis for payments to beneficiaries and vendors in the N-Power Scheme and the Homegrown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP).

5. Replacement of old Cash-Based Accounting System with an Accruals-Based System

Cash accounting makes no reference to the liabilities that the Federal Government may be required to meet in the future nor does it recognise the benefits that will be obtained from assets purchased over a period of time.

The cash accounting system fails to capture information on public sector assets and liabilities which may present the illusion of positive financial results in the short term, at the expense of longer-term fiscal stability and sustainability.

Accruals-based accounting, on the other hand, presents the true financial position of the Federal Governments assets and liabilities, which would help the Government plan future funding requirements for asset maintenance and replacement, and the repayment of existing and contingent liabilities and, thus, better manage their cash position and financing requirements.

It provides comprehensive information on Government’s current and projected cash flows, leading to better cash management. For example, the conversion from cash accounting to accrual accounting led to the discovery of unrecorded debts owed contractors, oil marketers, exporters, electricity distribution companies and others.

6. New Whistleblowing Policy

The new Whistleblowing Policy introduced by the Federal Ministry of Finance has already yielded about $160m and N8 billion in recoveries of stolen Government funds.

Below is a video of a pro Buhari rally: