The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Wednesday disclosed that the Federal Government had so far recovered about N9.12bn through its whistle-blowing policy introduced to reward informants.
She gave a breakdown of the recoveries as N7.8bn, $368m, and £27,800.
Adeosun disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents of the outcome of a meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The minister said she also briefed the council of the government whistle-blowing team’s training tour of the United Kingdom.
She said, “I also reported that the whistle-blower team has recently come back from a trip to the United Kingdom. The UK Government was giving us training on whistle-blowing, how we should institutionalise it.
“The team spent some time with the Revenue Office in UK. They spent some time in the Customs Office and they took them through what they have been able to do.
“One of the things it has achieved is prevention. When they get the tips, they use it to block avenues for leakage. We have had a significant number of tips. So, we will be coming back to institutionalise whistle-blowing as a structure.”
Adeosun also said she gave the council an update on capital releases for the 2017 budget.
She said the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing got N301.89bn; Defence got N151.2bn; Agriculture got N119.9bn; Transport N127.9bn and other areas combined put at N545.6 bn.
The minister added, “The total capital budget release for 2017 so far is N1,248,310tn. But we haven’t closed yet. We are confident we will close the year roughly around where we closed last year. We will close around N1.3tn mark.
“Our commitment to infrastructure spending remains very strong. That is what is going to drive growth of the economy. That is what is going to drive jobs.”
On the government’s debt profile, she recalled that FEC had approved a three-year debt strategy to reduce reliance on short time borrowing particularly treasury bills, 91-day treasury bills, that was costing government 21 per cent and moving from domestic borrowing into external borrowing.
“Our term of maturity was 7.15. We have now extended it to 11.25. That gives a little bit of room to allow the investment we have made in capital projects to filter into our tax system and allows us to manage the debt.
“What that means is reducing our cost of funds and reducing our interest cost because the cost of borrowing is much more less and in a planned manner and our average borrowing has reduced from 18 per cent to about 14 per cent.”