Recovered N78bn loot can’t revive economy – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said on Friday that the looted funds recovered by the Federal Government are not enough to revive the economy.

The minister, who spoke at the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja on Friday, said the N78bn and $3m (N945m) so far recovered is not even sufficient to pay half of the Federal Civil Servants’ salaries in a month.

He said, “What we have recovered and if my record is right, is about N78bn and $3m. We’ve blocked other accounts with about $9bn, but the money is not available to us because we are still in court.

“The government spends N165bn monthly on Federal Civil Servants. So what we have so far recovered cannot even pay 50 per cent of the salaries in a month. What has been recovered is so little compared to what we need on a continuous basis.”

Mohammed further said every penny recovered would be “judiciously” spent, adding nobody would be able to “re-loot” what has been recovered by the government.

Disclosing that the Federal Government once owed contractors N2trn, the minister said the Federal Ministry of Finance had recently released N400bn for capital projects, mostly on roads, railway, and power.

He said, “N400bn seems a lot, but you must also understand that for three or four years, contractors were not paid.

“When we paid this money to contractors, they also used part of it to settle their own debts, they used part of it to recall laid-off staff.

“The truth is that many of the contractors have been paid, but they have yet to mobilise to sites and they cannot do so until the rains are over.”

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