From: Bamidele Fasube
Civil Society Organisations on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to
make public all looted funds that have been recovered so far
especially by the present administration.
The CSOs said Nigerians are gradually becoming inpatient with the
manner President Muhammadu Buhari led administration is delivering on
his change agenda.
Representative of the CSOs, who spoke for The Situation Room, Mr.
Clement Nwankwo during a meeting with the Minister of Information and
Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in Abuja urged the federal government to
tackle growing national issues with the urgency that it deserves.
”Expectations are very high amongst Nigerians for the changes
promised by General Buhari during the campaigns. The need to deliver
on campaign promises is against the background of the complete lack of
public trust in government and its institutions,” Nwankwo said.
He stated that, ”urgent symbolic steps and quick wins” should be
urgently implemented by the government including transparency and
openness of loot recovered from officials of the immediate past
regime, openness of the national budget, sale of some of the
presidential jets, zero tolerance for impunity and the probe of the
FCDA land swap.
Earlier, Muhammed urged Nigerians to remain patient as the change
agenda would soon become a reality.
The Minister said as soon as the 2016 budget in passed, implementation
of programmes and policies would commence.
According to him, ”This Government will not give excuses. The
painstaking and methodical approach by the Buhari Administration, its
deep analysis and understanding of the challenges and the recent
inauguration of the cabinet will herald a new dawn. We will start
firing from all cylinders, starting with the unveiling of the 2016
”Nigerians will witness measurable and impactful progress in all
spheres of governance. We shall not abandon our social intervention
policies such as one meal a day for school children and the payment of
5,000 Naira each to vulnerable Nigerians. We are committed to lifting
millions of Nigerians out of poverty.”
On how the Administration will fund its programmes, in view of the
drastic fall in the price of crude oil, the Minister said it would be
through the diversification of the economy, plugging of leakages as
well as exploiting and widening the country’s tax base without
necessarily raising taxes.
”A comparative analysis between Nigeria and South Africa will drive
the point home. In 2013, with a population of 160 million and GDP of
$510 billion, Nigeria collected $30 billion in taxes, whereas South
Africa, with a population of 54 million and GDP of $366 billion,
collected $74 billion in taxes.
”In 2014, Nigeria, with a population of 170 million and GDP of $535
billion, collected $26 billion, while South Africa, with a GDP of $350
billion and population of 54 million, raked in $70 billion. From the
figures, it is obvious that if only we can widen our tax base, we do
not need to raise taxes to increase our tax revenue,” he said
The Minister commended the CSOs for the role they played during the
last general elections, saying the organizations, especially those
grouped under the Situation Room, contributed hugely to the success of
He said the Buhari Administration will carry the Civil Society along
in its efforts to change, for the better, the country’s fortunes.
”That is why we have started our engagement with you this early.
Therefore, this will be the first in a series of engagements with the
Civil Society. We see you as credible, and we see you as patriots, who
are genuinely interested in the welfare of the people,” the Minister
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