President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday vowed to recover all funds stolen by marketers from the petroleum subsidy scheme.
The president also warned that corrupt officials and fraudsters in Nigeria would not be spared as culprits would be severely punished to serve as deterrence to others.
Jonathan gave the assurances and warnings in Abuja at the launch of a Book titled; “Reforming the Un-reformable” written by Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy.
According to him, government is taking every measure to recover all stolen funds from those who defrauded the government in the Petroleum Subsidy Scheme.
Jonathan, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, said his administration was committed to various sectoral reforms aimed at 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.”
He further restated the administration’s commitment to diversifying the nation’s economy, with particular emphasis on agro-business and value addition in the exploitation of other resources to generate employment and create wealth.
On the Book launch, Jonathan commended the author for documenting some of the important reforms embarked upon by government.
“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.”
The president frowned at the situation where Africa’s history, economic challenges and progress were being written and narrated by foreign authors.
He, therefore, stressed the need for African leaders to invest more in writing about their experiences for the general good of the continent.
Jonathan congratulated Okonjo-Iweala 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.
Earlier, Okonjo-Iweala stated that the essence of the book, which took her four years to complete, 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 Gov. Peter Obi of Anambra, who reviewed the 198-page book, all identified sound rules and effective institutions as the important pillars for sustained economic development. (NAN)