FG approves new whistleblower bill, cancels tax holiday

FG approves new whistleblower bill, cancels tax holiday
Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed

 

The Federal Government, on Wednesday, approved a new whistleblower draft bill.

It also lamented that the existing whistle-blowing policy launched on December 21, 2016, was losing momentum.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this to State House Correspondents after the week’s Council meeting, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

Launched in December 2016 by the Buhari-led Government, the Whistleblower Protection Act, facilitated through the Federal Ministry of Finance, provides legal cover for individuals who voluntarily expose acts of fraud, bribery, looted government funds and assets, financial misconduct and other forms of corruption.

The policy also rewards a whistleblower who provides information about any financial mismanagement or tipoff about stolen funds to the ministry’s portal with 2.5 – 5 per cent of the funds recovered by the Nigerian government.

Speaking after this week’s FEC meeting, Ahmed said the Council approved the draft bill to strengthen the fight against corruption and protect whistleblowers that provide helpful information to the FG.

She said, “The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning presented several memos today. The first is the draft whistleblower bill for 2022. This memo has been reviewed by the Council and approved with a provision to ensure alignment with the Evidence Act.

“The purpose of operationalising and putting in place a whistleblower bill is to strengthen the fight against corruption and to enable protection for whistleblowers that provide information for use by the government.

“As you know, since 2016, the Council has approved the setting up the Presidential Initiative of Continuous Audit. PICA has been working in partnership with EFCC, ICPC, DSS, and NFIU and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

“We noticed that the whistleblower policy response has lost momentum. We embarked on engagement in the six geo-political zones, and one of the main outcomes we found is that people are concerned about their safety due to providing information. So, this bill is critical to ensure the effectiveness of the retention of the whistle policy.”

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