• en
ON NOW

Nigeria Says Whistle Blowing Policy Has Lost Steam 

The policy rewards a whistleblower who provides information about any financial mismanagement with 2.5% – 5% from the recovered funds.

Zainab-Ahmed

The policy rewards a whistleblower who provides information about any financial mismanagement with 2.5% – 5% from the recovered funds. 

The Federal Government has assessed its six-year old Whistle Blowing Policy with a disclosure that the policy has not performed up to expectation.

It has, therefore, owned up that the policy that was launched on December 21, 2016  through the Federal Ministry of Finance to encourage people to volunteer information about fraud, bribery, looted government funds, financial misconduct, government assets and any other form of corruption or theft to the ministry, has lost steam.

The policy rewards a whistle blower who provides information about any financial mismanagement or tip about any stolen funds to the ministry’s portal with 2.5% – 5% percentage from the recovered funds by the Nigerian government. 

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, made the disclosure on Wednesday while speaking with newsmen after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, which was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the State House, Abuja.

According to her, FEC approved the draft bill to strengthen the fight against corruption and to also enable protection for whistleblowers that provide information for use by government. 

Her words: “The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning presented a number of memos today. The first is the draft whistleblower bill for 2022. This memo has been reviewed by council and approved with a provision to ensure alignment with the Evidence Act. 

“The purpose of operationalizing and putting in place a whistleblower bill is to strengthen the fight against corruption and to also enable protection for whistleblowers that provide information for use by government. 

“As you know since 2016, the council had approved the setting up of the Presidential Initiative of Continuous Audit (PICA). PICA has been working in partnership with EFCC, ICPC, DSS, NFIU as well as the office of the Attorney General of the Federation. 

“We noticed that the whistleblower policy response has lost momentum. We embarked on engagements in the six geo-political zones and one of the main outcome that we found is that people are concerned about their safety as a result of providing information. So this bill is critical to ensure the effectiveness of the retention of the whistle policy.”

The minister also said the council approved a total of N9.24 billion for the 2022/2023 Group Life Insurance Cover for federal public servants.

Ahmed, who said the memo was presented to Council by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, explained that the insurance is meant to cover all government officials. 

She said: “The Head of Service of the Federation presented a memo to Council on Group Life Insurance Cover for the period 2022 to 2023. This is an insurance cover that is covering all government officials in all government agencies, military and intelligence agencies. Council approved the total sum of N9.24 billion for the insurance cover for 2022 to 2023. 

“As you know, the insurance will take effect from the date of payment and in Nigeria, by our laws, the insurance cover is 30% of the annual emolument of any staff of government that is deceased and this cover is paid by the insurance company to the beneficiaries of the deceased staff”, she said. 

FEC, according to the Minister, also approved the Finance Bill 2022 that is designed to support the implementation of the 2023 budget.

Ahmed said: “If you recall at the public presentation of the budget to the National Assembly, by His Excellency Mr. President, the President had committed to the parliament that a 2022  Finance bill will be submitted to the parliament by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to support the implementation of the 2023 budget. 

“So we have been working on this bill and have done a lot of consultations. The bill we presented before Council today has five focus areas including tax equity reforms, climate change and green growth provisions, job creation and economic growth reforms, reforming tax incentives as well as generating revenue enhancing tax administration. 

“The purpose of the tax equity reforms is to combat tax evasion and aggressive tax planning practices that some companies operating in Nigeria are involved in but also enabling the utilization of ICT tools and using international best  practice to assess taxpayers tax on a fair reasonable basis. 

“The climate change green growth focus will complement non-fiscal reforms that are designed to reduce greenhouse emissions and also to facilitate domestic and international investment in climate adaptation, as well as mitigation and also to enhance green growth and create jobs. 

“The third focus area, job creation and economic growth is also designed to complement the ease of doing business and other reforms to support capital formation by the private sector as well as to foster enabling business environmental for micro, small and medium enterprises for youth as well as women in businesses. It will also help to enhance the performance of businesses that are in the FinTech, the ICT, entertainment, fashion, sports as well as the art space.

“The fourth tax incentive is to phase out antiquated pioneer, and other tax incentives for mature industries and moving a revised set of incentives to a real infant industries, through economic governance reforms, we’ve also made proposals to reduce tax expenditure which is equivalent to foregone revenue to support the fiscal space and  also based on statistics to gradually transition away from expensive and redundant tax incentives to incentives that are rewarding performance. 

“The fifth Focus Area revenue generation and tax administration is to complement the ease of doing business and other reforms that enhanced tax administration, as well as introduced targeted… this kind of non fiscal reforms to amend, address and cure defects in existing tax and non tax laws as well as regulations. 

“This Finance bill is amending a number of fiscal laws, including the capital gains tax, company income tax, customs excise tariff Act, Federal Inland Revenue Service Act, personal income tax, stamp duties act, tertiary education tax, VAT act, Insurance Act, Nigerian police Trust Fund Act, as well as the National Agency for Engineering Act NASANI. finance control  management act, as well as the fiscal responsibility. 

“So with this approval from Council, His Excellency Mr. President  will be conveying to the National Assembly, a request for the consideration of this bill.”

Ahmed said the council also approved the memo for the design, construction and supply of nine numbers Ballistic Riverian assault boats, as well as nine numbers patrol boats with all associated accessories in favor of Messers Sewa West African limited in the sum of N689,722,681.30 inclusive of 7.5% VAT for the Nigerian customs service.

Also briefing newsmen, Minister of State for Budget, Clem Agba, said FEC also approved the revised National Social Protection Policy presented by the Minister of Finance and Budget and National Planning.

He said: “Council approved the revised national social protection policy 2021 to 2025. This revised national social protection policy is an offshoot of a previous policy that was implemented from 2017 to 2020. The review was carried out in collaboration with all relevant ministries departments and agencies at both the federal and state levels as well as other key stakeholders, including development partners. 

“Recall that when the first policy was in place, there was no ministry like humanitarian affairs. Now we have that ministry. And since it’s part of the review process to do this every four years, the review had to be done. 

“In review this policy statewide consultations were embarked upon to harness and advise ideas from all from all stakeholders for the efficient and effective coordination of the policy. 

“The National Social Protection Council is to be set up to be chaired by His Excellency the Vice President, with the Secretariat domiciled in the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the ministers of labour and employment and then the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, disaster management and Social Development who serve as Vice Chair of that council. Also, there’s going to be a technical working group, which will be co-chaired by those two ministers.”

On his part, Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, said council approved the contract for procurement of 20 number transformer tons ratio analyzes awarded to Segulu Stembek Global Services Ltd, at the sum of N564,231,854.08 with 7.5% VAT with a completion new period of four months.

He said the transformer tons, ratio analyzers is a state of the art testing device for reliable testing and diagnosing of power transformers, noting that the device being used before now was an old device. 

“So, this is new technology which is more reliable. So, it is going to be used by the TCN in testing the Transformers across the country to know the reliability and to also detect any fault. So, it has been a proof”, Aliyu further explained.

Deji Elumoye 

ON NOW