FG: POLICY ON WHISTLEBLOWER HAS LOST MOMENTUM, APPROVES NEW FINANCIAL BILL.
Written by AIGBOKHAEBHO OKHUELEIGBE on December 14, 2022
The Federal government on Wednesday says the Whistleblower policy has lost momentum, hence the need to further strengthen the policy to support the fight against corruption.
This is just as the Executive Council of the Federation approved the draft whistleblower bill for 2022, with a provision to ensure alignment with the Evidence Act.
Minister of finance budget and national planning Zainab Ahmed disclosed this to State house correspondents on Wednesday in Abuja at the end of the meeting of the executive council of the Federation chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
She explained that the purpose of operationalizing and putting in place a whistleblower bill is to strengthen the fight against corruption and to also enable protection for whistleblowers that provide information for use by the government.
The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning presented a number of memos today. The first is the draft whistleblower bill for 2022. This memo has been reviewed by counsel and approved with a provision to ensure alignment with the Evidence Act. The purpose of operationalizing and putting in place a whistleblower bill is to strengthen the fight against corruption and to also enable protection for whistleblowers that provide information for use by the government.
As you know since 2016, the council had approved the setting up of the Presidential Initiative of Continuous Audit (PICA). PICA has been working in partnership with EFCC, ICPC, DSS, NFIU as well as the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.
We noticed that the whistleblower policy response has lost momentum. We embarked on engagements in the six geo-political zones and one of the main outcomes that we found is that people are concerned about their safety as a result of providing information. So this bill is critical to ensure the effectiveness of the retention of the whistle policy
Zainab added that the council approved the Finance Bill 2022, designed to support the implementation of the 2023 budget.
She noted that the Finance bill is amending a number of fiscal laws, including the capital gains tax, company income tax, customs excise tariff Act, Federal Inland Revenue Service Act, personal income tax, stamp duties act, tertiary education tax, VAT act, Insurance Act, Nigerian police Trust Fund Act, as well as the National Agency for Engineering Act NASANI, finance control management act and the fiscal responsibility.
The Finance Minister said the bill will be forwarded to the national assembly by the President for consideration.
The council also approved the sum of 9.24 billion naira for the group life insurance cover for all government agencies, officials, paramilitary and intelligence agencies for the period of 2022 to 2023.
On his part, The Minister of State for finance budget and national planning Clement Agba said the council approved the revised national social protection policy 2021 to 2025.
He says the revised national social protection policy is an offshoot of a previous policy that was implemented from 2017 to 2020.
Agba said the National Social Protection Council is to be set up and will be chaired by the Vice President, with the Secretariat domiciled in the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
Story By Yemi Adebayo