Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed has said that the interest of Nigerians in the whistleblower policy is “nosediving”.
Ahmed said this on Thursday at the zonal conference on whistleblower policy in Nigeria for the south-west zone, held in Lagos.
The minister was represented at the event by Shehu Shinkafi, permanent secretary (special duties), ministry of finance.
She said the waning interest was in dissonance with the inception of the policy where Nigerians volunteered numerous information.
She said information obtained from the policy had led to the recovery of cash and non-cash assets, including the clean-up of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
“Interest on the implementation of the policy began to nosedive unlike when it started where there was widespread enthusiasm on the part of Nigerians as they volunteered numerous actionable information,” the finance minister said.
“Such information or tips were usually referred to the EFCC, ICPC, NFIU or DSS for painstaking investigation.
“Accordingly, there were recoveries both in cash and non-cash assets. The policy also helps in the cleaning up of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS). Similarly, funds maintained outside the treasury single account (TSA) without authorisation by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the federal government were identified and moved back to the treasury.”
Ahmed, therefore, stated that the nosediving interest prompted the realisation of the stakeholders that there was apparent confusion in the minds of the public on several issues.
She said most citizens were not aware of the existence of the policy and its key objectives.
She also said that the workings or operational modalities of the implementation of the policy were generally misunderstood.
On his part, Rabiu Olowo, Lagos state commissioner for finance, said Nigerians must deliberately protect whistleblowers by enacting laws through the national assembly.
According to him, financial incentives is a good way to encourage potential whistleblowers to speak up.