Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun has given a glimmer of hope on the economy, saying it is on the way to recovery.
Things are beginning to look up regardless of the current hiccups, she said at Sagamu, Ogun State, shortly after monitoring the Biometric Data Capturing exercise for members of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on Friday.
Mrs. Adeosun said old investors were returning to the country gradually, adding that despite the drop in oil prices, the fundamentals about the economy still remained strong.
The programme was organised by the Police authorities and the Office of the Accountant -General of the Federation to facilitate direct and prompt payment of salaries into officers’ accounts, eliminate ghost workers and multiple payments among others.
The Federal Government, Adeosun said, was determined to turn the momentary painful period into advantages, remove wasteful spending and effectively tackle corruption so that the economy would not only recover, but government’s spending would also become beneficial to the majority of Nigerians.
“Old investors are coming back gradually and we have said that in a year’s time it will be a different economy it may be slow and painful but we would get there,” she said.
“Nigeria is going through a change and because of the decline in oil prices, the fundamental things about the Nigerian economy remain strong.
“What we have to do is to make sure this painful period is used to our advantage by removing the wasteful spending, stopping the corruption so that when money spent by government is spent very effectively to the benefits of the people and that is what is going to make this economy recover.”
Giving an update on the war against ghost workers, the minister said the number has now reached 43000 and the discovery has made it possible for government to reduce its wage bill by N4.5bý monthly.
She said none of the brains behind the fraud would go scot free.
Adeosun said the Biometric Data capturing exercise would be conducted for every employee of the federal government.
She said: “So far we have reduced what we pay monthly by N4.5bn and it has been increasing every day because those that are not supposed to be on the pay-roll are been removed.
“And we would keep doing that until we are sure that everybody receiving salary from the Federal Government is valid, and the only way we can do that is to pay salary directly into their accounts and we can also verify by using BVN to ensure that no multiple payments and that the people are alive. We are in talks with the EFCC and they are going to start the prosecution very soon.
In fact, some people died and no one told us about their demise but through this exercise such kind of people will be discovered, but when people are fraudulent they should be prosecuted.”