President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday disclosed that his administration had taken steps to recover looted Nigerian funds from banks, financial institutions and countries in which payments for stolen crude oil have been deposited.
The President said that the affected banks and countries had been identified by the Federal Government.
At an audience with visiting United States Congressmen in Abuja, yesterday, Buhari acknowledged the cooperation his administration receives from the international community on intelligence-gathering for tracing and recovering of looted funds.
“We are getting cooperation from the international community, including information on ships that take crude oil from Nigeria and change direction, or pour their contents into other ships midstream.
“Some monies were paid to individual accounts. We are identifying the financial institutions and countries that are involved.
“I have been assured that when we get all our documents together, the United States and other countries will treat our case with sympathy,’’ the President told the Congressmen led by Rep. Darrel Issa.
President Buhari also told the Congressmen that his administration welcomes regular meetings of the Nigeria-United States Bi-National Commission.
He noted that the commission could serve as a more useful platform for the promotion of bilateral trade and economic relations as well as joint cooperation in the war against terrorism.
Leader of the delegation, Rep. Issah Darrel, assured Buhari that the United States will support Nigeria against Boko Haram by providing training, intelligence and military platforms.
“We look forward to helping you in many ways to end the Boko Haram insurgency and the theft of crude oil in the Gulf of Guinea,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Buhari has directed the National Planning Commission, NPC, to go back to the drawing board and produce the framework for a 2016 national budget which will reduce recurrent expenditure and prioritise developmental projects.
President Buhari gave the order after being briefed by the NPC Executive Secretary, Dr. Bassey Akpanyung at the State House, yesterday.
The President told Akpanyung and Directors of the NPC that capital projects must now be given the fullest possible priority because Nigeria cannot achieve real development without adequate investment in capital and infrastructural projects.
“In carrying out its role in surveillance of the economy, review and appraisal of policies, the Commission should devise a plan for a realignment of the budget so that capital projects can be really prioritised,” the President directed.
Akpanyung had informed the President that Nigeria’s planning system was beset by many challenges.
These challenges, he said, included the non-alignment of national plans with the annual budget and inadequate capacity in the departments of Planning, Research and Statistics in the various government ministries.

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