THE Federal Government has recovered over N14 billion, sequel to audit exercise conducted on fuel subsidy claims. [viralpullquote ]THE Federal Government has recovered over N14 billion, sequel to audit exercise conducted on fuel subsidy claims.[/viralpullquote]
The audit exercise was part of the efforts being made by the administration to block areas of leakages within the system.
Already, the government has initiated a new strategy to curtail payments for bogus claims for contract jobs
Under the new dispensation, a two-step audit claim before payment has been established, unlike the previous arrangements where payments were made relying only on witnesses.
Finance Minister, Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala while presenting the achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan as part of the activities marking this year’s Democracy Day in Abuja on Wednesday said: “We audited N1 trillion in subsidy and found N232 billion questionable, so far we have recovered about N14 billion. We have tightened the payment process.”
Similarly, she said that the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) had reduced the number of oil importers to 32. This is to give the agency enough leverage to supervise the process in a fair and transparent manner.
According to the minister, Nigeria’s credit rating had improved under the present administration. She said that agencies like Fitch, Standard and Poor’s and Moody had improved to BB- (equivalent). As a result, Nigerian corporates are able to borrow at cheaper rates on international credit markets.
“A number of our banks have gone to raise funds abroad. For example Access Bank ($350 Euro Bond; GT Bank ($350 million Bond; Fidelity bank $300 Euro Bond.”
Besides, she said that international investors were becoming more interested in Nigeria, citing domestic bonds such as JP Morgan and Barclays emerging market index. She noted that about $7 billion was invested in the country in 2012.
Okonjo-Iweala said that the government policy of reducing the cost of governance was yielding the desired result. She added that the policy was to reduce recurrent expenditure and complete capital projects. “Recurrent expenditure has dropped from 74.4 per cent of total budget in 2011 to 68.7 per cent in 2013.
Besides, she disclosed that the borrowing of the government is declining, saying, “Our annual borrowing has fallen from N852 billion in 2011 to N588 billion in 2013.”
Also speaking the Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman highlighted the achievements of the administration in the areas of infrastructure and sectoral reforms such agriculture, manufacturing, housing Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Education, Health, Sports and creative industries.
According to Usman, the administration had for the first time in 30 years embarked on the rehabilitation of the abandoned railway networks spread across the country, citing the Lagos-Kano 1.124 kilometres western line which have been completed and put to use.
The eastern line of Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri which is expected to be completed by this year; the Abuja-Kaduna Standrad Gauge line which has reached 60 per cent completion as well as the Itakpe-Warri Standard Gauge rail line which has reached 77 per cent completion.