Presidency: ICPC recovered N189 billion from inflated budgets

By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja

The Presidency yesterday rolled out the achievements of the Buhari administration over the last six years with the recovery of N189 billion from inflated personnel budgets as one of the highlights.

The recoveries were made by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) under the fight against corruption policy of the administration.

The achievements were captured in a statement -The Buhari Administration at 6: Counting the Blessings One by One- issued by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.

According to Adesina, scrutiny of practices, systems and procedures of MDAs’ personnel cost from 2019 to 2020 by the ICPC led to the recovery of the money.

He said that in 2019 alone, the commission recovered N32 billion worth of land, buildings and vehicles, while its audit of Constituency Projects covering 2015 to 2018 led to the recovery of N2 billion of diverted funds and assets.

Besides, he said, Nigeria has signed an agreement on the identification and repatriation of illicit funds with the United Arab Emirates and successfully engaged the governments of Switzerland, Jersey Island, United States, United Arab Emirates and Liechtenstein, among others, in an effort to ensure the repatriation of Nigeria’s stolen assets.

He said: “A total of US$622 million in looted Abacha funds repatriated to Nigeria in two tranches in December 2017 and April 2020.

“The first tranche ($322m) is being disbursed as part of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programme interventions, while the second tranche ($311m) is being invested in the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), managed by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).”

N2 trillion bailout for states

Adesina said the Buhari administration extended more than N2 trillion in bailout packages to the 36 state governments to “enable them meet their salary and pension obligations, especially in the face of dwindling oil revenues in the first three years of the administration.”

The support, he said, took the following forms: N614 billion Budget Support Facility; $5.4 billion in Paris Club Refunds; N700 billion in refunds for federal road projects embarked upon by state governments; and restructuring of N575.516 billion loan facilities with commercial banks for 23 states to reduce the debt service burden on the states.

“In exchange for their loans to state governments, the banks were issued 20-year FGN bonds at a yield of 14.83% per annum,” Adesina said.

He added: “The restructuring exercise benefited the states through reduction in the monthly debt service burden of states from between 55% to 97% for various states; and interest rate savings for the states ranging from 3% to 9% per annum.”

Other achievements include investment of over a billion dollars in three flagship projects: Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway and resumption of work on the 337km East-West Road project, originally awarded in 2006.

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