The Nigerian presidency has released what it calls nine ways the country’s president has fought corruption through policies introduced by his administration.
It said these policies have helped to improve fiscal responsibility and transparency even though the nation’s anti-corruption agencies were not involved.
This means that while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are combing the nooks and corners of the country for corrupt citizens, the presidency is subtly carrying out reforms to further frustrate the act.
The policies mentioned at the ‘National Dialogue on Corruption’ summit organised in Abuja by the Presidential Action Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) in conjunction with the office of the vice-president on Thursday, March 3, 2017, include:
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
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
3. Expansion of TSA Coverage
On Aug 7, 2015, PMB issued executive order to all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to implement Treasury Single Account (TSA) Policy. The TSA Policy has resulted in consolidation of over 20,000 bank accounts and in average monthly savings of N4.7bn in banking charges.
4. Deployment of BVN for payroll and Social Investment Programmes
The use of BVN to verify federal government payroll entries has so far led to the detection of 53,000 erroneous payroll entries.
5. Replacement of old Cash-Based Accounting System with an Accruals-Based System
Accruals-based accounting 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.
6. Enlistment into Open Government Partnership (OGP)
In July 2016, Nigeria became 70th country to join OGP and has gone on to develop a National Action Plan (2017–2019).
7. Insistence on Conditionality of Fiscal Support to states
The Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP) is a reform programme that specifies conditions under which states can access federal government’s N510 billion Budget Support Facility (BSF). State governments that fail to implement the FSP action plans, as stated, will be taken off the Budget Support Facility with immediate effect. The Fiscal Sustainability Plan is part of our reform of Public Financial Management Systems nationwide.
8. Asset Recovery Reforms
The constitution of a Presidential Committee on Asset Recovery (PCAR), headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, to bring together all law enforcement agencies involved in the recovery of assets; as well as designation of a dedicated Central Bank account to receive all recovered funds, for coordination and transparency of management and oversight.
9. 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.