Budget padding: Buhari vows to prosecute culprits

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that all those found wanting in the 2016 budget padding scam will not go unpunished.
The President said this while reacting to questions at a meeting with members of theNigerian Community in Saudi Arabia at the Nigerian House in Riyadh on Tuesday evening.

Buhari, who said that he never knew what was budget padding until when the case was reported in the 2016 budget, promised to fish out all those involved in the act with a view to sanctioning them to serve as deterrent to others.
He announced that his administration had introduced a number of policies and programmes aimed at saving the nation’s economy from collapse.
He cited the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Zero-based Budget as some of the meaningful financial policies introduced by the Federal Government to check fraud in the system, saying it had started yielding fruitful results.
According to him, the nation has so far realised over N2.6 trillion from the newly introduced TSA.
He, therefore, expressed optimism that with the introduction of the single account, the 2016 budget implementation might not record any form of deficit at the end of the financial year.
On the ongoing fight against Boko Haraminsurgency, the President said that his administration was determined to tackle the menace.
He added that “as you are all aware, insecurity has been a serious challenge for us in Nigeria, occasioned by the destructive activities of the Boko Haram.
“However, our armed forces have done a great job in dealing with the Boko Haram.
“We have also intensified collaboration with the Multinational Joint Task Force to handle the threats within the sub-region.
“These renewed efforts helped to decimate the capacity of the insurgents and as I speak to you, the group is not in control of a single territory in Nigeria.’’
The President also expressed the determination of his administration to tackle the problem of corruption in the society.
He, therefore, assured that the APC-led Federal Government had zero tolerance for corruption and other unethical practices.
He said “this government will do everything within the provision of the constitution to recover stolen funds and put an end to corrupt practices.
“This will be done by empowering relevant government agencies and institutions to carry out the task of nipping corruption in the bud and dealing decisively with anyone found wanting.”
He revealed that the Federal Government was working to fully diversify the economy, which in essence would open up new opportunities for Nigerian entrepreneurs and foreign investors.
On the request for the establishment of an international school to cater for Nigerian children in Saudi Arabia, the establishment of a branch of Nigerian bank and provision of passport machine in Riyadh, Buhari pledged that relevant authorities of government would look into the issues.
He then directed the Nigerian Embassy in Riyadh to make necessary contacts with the relevant ministries with a view to addressing some of the challenges raised at the meeting.
He reassured that government had since begun addressing the challenge of unemployment, saying that the objective of his administration was to take steps to address these challenges and restore the confidence and trust of Nigerians including those in the diaspora.
I am aware of the challenges you face in this country. It will be unusual to assume that you are all comfortable and satisfied.”
The President commended the Charge’ D Affaires, the Consular General and all the members of staff of the Nigerian Embassy and the Consulate for working tirelessly to ensure the success of his visit.
I wish to express my sincere gratitude to all Nigerians living in Saudi Arabia, particularly those of you present here today, for your solidarity and overwhelming support for my candidature during the last presidential election.
“I appreciate the fact that you are all in tune with events going on in Nigeria. I thank you for your patriotism and good conduct.
“I am aware of the challenges you face in this country. It will be unusual to assume that you are all comfortable and satisfied.”
He said the Federal Government would work with the government of Saudi Arabia to ensure that some of the problems were resolved.
In his remarks, the Charge’ D Affaires, Amb. Tijjani Hamman-Joda, thanked President Buhari for finding time to visit and address members of the Nigerian community in Saudi Arabia.
The event featured the presentation of gifts to the President by various Nigerian groups based in that country.


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