By Dipo Olowookere
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has disclosed that the money recovered from looters by President Muhammadu Buhari was not enough to revamp the country’s economy, which is presently at its low ebb.
There have been questions on why the Federal Government has not used the recovered loot to revive the economy, especially funding the 2016 budget instead of looking from where to borrow money to fund it.
But speaking on Friday on a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja, Mr Mohammed noted that the amount of money recovered has always been made known to Nigerians.
He put figures of the recovered loot at N78 billion and $3 million, adding that about $9 billion in various bank accounts has been blocked by the government.
“What we have recovered and if my record is right is about N78 billion, and $3 million. We have been able to block various accounts in which about $9 billion is found but those are not money available to us because we are still in court over them.
“The government spends N165 billion every month to pay federal civil servants, even what has been so far recovered will not even pay 50 per cent of the salaries in a month,” he said.
The Minister assured Nigerians that every penny recovered will be judiciously spent and nobody could re-loot what had been recovered under the administration.
He also disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Finance released N400 billion for capital projects, mostly on roads, railway, and power.
“N400 billion seems a lot, but you must also understand that for three or four years contractors were not paid.
“So, when we paid this money to contractors, they also use part of it to settle their own debt, they use part of it to recall laid off staff.
“But the truth of the matter is that many of them have been paid, they are yet to mobilise to site and they cannot do so until the rains are over,” Mr Mohammed said.