Abuja – The Federal Government on Thursday said it had directed the Auditor-General of the Federation and Price WaterHouse to undertake forensic auditing of the alleged missing 20 billion dollars oil money.
The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, announced this when at a panelist discussion on the topic: “Africa Rising’’ at the ongoing 24th World Economic Forum on Africa, in Abuja.
The Forum with theme: “Forging inclusive growth, creating jobs’’ is being attended by over 1,500 delegates from over 70 countries.
The suspended Central Bank Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had alleged that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had failed to remit 20 billion dollars to government coffer.
Okonjo-Iweala said the exercise which started last week, would be carried out within a period of 16 weeks.
According to her, the auditors are to assist in unraveling mysteries surrounding the unaccounted 20 billion dollars.
“The issue of holding government to account, I don’t think Nigerians are laying back. We need that transparency and we welcome it.
“The (suspended) CBN Governor raised issues on unaccounted amount from the federation account.
“We at the ministry of finance have for two years been reconciling these figures with the NNPC to know what they are supposed to remit to the federation account.
“Our feeling is that the only way is to have a forensic audit that would let Nigerians know the truth on the issue.
“There is a forensic audit that the government has approved, and it is being done by PwC under the supervision of the Auditor-General for the Federation.
“The auditors said they need 12 to 16 weeks to do that, and all these would be clarified,’’ she said.
On poverty and inclusive growth, Okonjo-Iweala said the nature of economic growth in the continent had not been inclusive enough, adding that more needed to be done to change the quality of economic growth.
“It is obvious that the quality of our growth is not good enough because we are rising with inequality and without creating jobs for our people.
“We need to get people to go into farming through `Nagroprenuers’ where 750,000 youths would be encouraged to go into agriculture.
“Africans want decent jobs and we should admit that we have those at the bottom who can’t get decent jobs, so we need to create social safety nets to take care of this.
“We also need to look at building skills for our young people,’’ she said.
The minister also added that the federal government was working hard to address the issue of infrastructure, saying that a Development Finance Institution would be unveiled before the end of the year.
The institution, she said, would provide long term funding of up to seven to 15 years to address the developmental needs of the country.
NAN reports that a minute silence was observed at the various meetings to support effort at rescuing the Chibok girls. (NAN)