The presidency has finally reacted to the leaked documents published on Tuesday, March 15, that showed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recruited children and relatives of some prominent Nigerians, comprising a nephew of President Buhari, and relatives of oil minister Ibe Kachikwu and many others.
Speaking in an interview with selected journalists in Abuja three months after, Laolu Akande, the senior special assistant to the vice president has described the report as inaccurate, Vanguard reports.
According to Laolu, the government was sanitizing the recruitment process and indeed, the public service systems to make them more transparent.
“These reports are inaccurate. What we heard is that government is working to ensure that we develop going forward in more transparent process. We are committed in going forward to ensure that some of these procedures are refined, fine-tuned and made to become more transparent.”
Speaking on the economy of the nation, Laolu said: “We have to understand that the attitude of this presidency is to consider the management of the economy as a government responsibility. It is not something that this government believes should be done by bringing in some of the private interests into the economic team to take a decision that they will be directly involved with.
“So our stand is that the management of the economy is a government responsibility.
“For instance, we have started meeting on constant basis with Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN). There have been meetings with arms of the economic sector of the country. There have been meetings with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and some other economic interests with companies, making presentations.
“But generally, this thing is a government team and the team has been able to set out before the budget trying to figure out what the budget ought to focus on. After the budget was presented and eventually signed, there was also the publication of the strategic implementation plan which was produced in a reader friendly format.
“All of these are the outcomes of what Economic Management Team does and it is also in the team that you have the heap of the whole physical and monetary policy and don’t forget that the monetary policy is always the duty and responsibility of the Central Bank which is an economic arm of government.
“As much as we try not to say this, we know as a matter of fact that members of the past administration, most of them have come out to say they did not save for the rainy day. So we are dealing mostly with situations that have been caused even before this administration took over power.
“The President and his team have worked hard and planned not only to save cost, not only to tighten public expenditure but to also diversify the economy like never before. So we are sure and we believe that going forward, things will begin to pick up again. It is taking a while because of the extent of the damage.
“The first fruit is already in place because we have started rebuilding. I think to some extent, that question presupposes that building is still continuing, no! The rebuilding of the resources of this country that had stopped. I believe that a huge factor in the way Nigeria is today economically is corruption.
“We can’t run away from that and the President has made it clear and I think everyone in the country now understands that and it is not going to continue. Effectively, he has reduced the corruption in Nigeria.
“You have to agree that we do have some delay in the whole process because of the timing of the budget approval. For instance, when we came in at the end of May, there was no way the government could implement some of those social welfare schemes because it was not budgeted for.
“So we had to wait for the budget process to kick in so that we can begin to put our ideas forward which was done and since the budget has been signed now, we are taking off.”
The report in March had exposed that the CBN secretly hired 909 workers between June 2014 and February 2015, in violation of due process and federal character principles.
It was gathered that the CBN reportedly tweaked the names of recruits, in order to hide the identities of beneficiaries of politically motivated recruitment.
However, authorities of the CBN stated that it chose a secret process of hiring new workers because the bank was doing “targeted recruitment”.