Speaking in Lagos at a town hall meeting the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed yesterday said Nigeria was paying for the level of corruption during the era of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Lai said that, “I have heard many commentators say that this administration is fighting corruption without paying attention to the economy. Of course, this is not true”. He stressed that, “It was corruption that prolonged the war against Boko Haram and sent many soldiers and civilians to their early graves. It was corruption that ensured that while oil was selling for over $100 per barrel, we had nothing to show for the windfall”.
He maintained that, It was corruption that gave us darkness instead of light when we supposedly pumped millions of dollars into the power sector. I can tell you today that we are squarely fighting corruption and we are winning. The situation is serious and no government can fight the battle alone. That explains why we have launched a nationwide sensitization campaign to make Nigerians to join the anti-graft war.
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He also added that, “We launched the campaign in January and we released what some people call a bombshell that between 2006 and 2013, just 55 people allegedly stole a total of N1.34trn, an amount that is more than one quarter of the 2015 national budget”. He said, Even if just one-third of the stolen fund is recovered, it will provide us with 6 Lagos Ibadan express ways and in addition, it will build 183 schools to educate 3,974 children from primary to tertiary education, also 36 modern hospitals. The money that was originally stolen represents the total earning s of four African nations.
He reiterated that the administration has decided to block all financial loopholes with the Treasury Single Account (TSA), into which a lot of money has accrued so far. Funds, which would have ordinarily found their way into private pockets, are now piling their way into the public treasury account to be used for the benefit of all of us. Over 30,000 ghost workers have been discovered and weeded out, saving the government of billions of naira.
“This budget has recorded a first, with the capital expenditure increased to 30%. Beyond that is the social intervention areas that will reach millions of citizens and leave them out of poverty”, he added.