President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday expressed his commitment in recovering all funds stolen by marketers from the petroleum subsidy scheme.
The president, who said this in Abuja at the launch of a Book titled; “Reforming the Un-reformable” written by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said corrupt officials and fraudsters in Nigeria would not be spared as culprits would be severely punished to serve as deterrence to others.
President Jonathan, who was represented at the event by Vice President Namadi Sambo, said the government is taking every measure to recover all stolen funds from those who defrauded the government in the Petroleum Subsidy Scheme.
He said his administration was committed to reforming all the sectors of the economy and is doing all in its power in creating jobs for the unemployed youth across the country.
“Let me assure you that my administration is not only committed to reform, we are indeed building on some of the reform measures initiated by my predecessors.
“On the governance front, we are going after those who commit various economic crimes and corrupt practices with impunity.
“As you may be aware, government is taking every legal measure to ensure that those who defraud the government in the petroleum subsidy scheme are made to pay back the stolen funds, and also are severely punished.”
President Jonathan commended Ms Okonjo-Iweala for documenting some of the important reforms embarked upon by his administration.
“On a personal note, I see this publication as an attestation of patriotism on the part of the author. As an administration, we shall always support such enterprise, for the purpose of setting the records straight.
“The central message of this important book is hope – hope that Nigeria can reform, and grow to become one of the world’s most dynamic economies.
“In the past, there was a lot of cynicism about Nigeria. Many people claimed that the political and economic institutions of this country could never be reformed.
“I commend this book for documenting some of the important reforms, which have occurred in Nigeria since our recent democratic transition.”
He congratulated the author of the book for contributing richly to the advancement of governance scholarship.
“I am aware that many people may have read about Nigeria’s debt relief from the Paris Club, about the privatisation programme, or about the establishment of the excess crude account from newspapers.
“In this book, you will find a concise, well-organised discussion of all these policy measures without the big, technical, ‘grammar’ and jargon.”
He, therefore, urged State Governors and Local Government Chairmen to avail themselves copies of the book for smooth implementation of the reform programme at the sub-national levels.
Speaking on the purpose of the book, Ms Okonjo-Iweala said the essence of the book was to engender hope in Nigerians.
She said the book was also meant for Nigeria to learn from her past experience to shape her future, saying that the book was not her biography.
Professor Paul Collier of the Oxford University, South African Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan and the Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, who reviewed the 198-page book, all identified sound rules and effective institutions as the important pillars for sustained economic development.