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Nigerian Government To Be More Transparent - Okonjo-Iweala

Source: thewillnigeria.com
DR. NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA
DR. NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA
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* Federal government revenue distributions to be public

* Okonjo-Iweala Says Vested Interests Want Her Out.

Nigeria's finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said on Sunday she would make government spending more transparent and fight the country's corrupt who are trying to stunt progress in Africa's most populous nation.

Okonjo-Iweala said detail of the revenue federal government distributes to different departments and local offices will be published on the finance ministry website, starting this week with detail of distributions for the past 18-months.

"We are committed to actualising transparency and accountability because they are a vital component of good governance," the coordinator of the economy and finance minister told reporters in her office.

Africa's top crude exporter distributes revenues, mostly from the sale of its oil, to state and local government on a monthly basis. Nigeria is regularly ranked by international agencies as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

Okonjo-Iweala, a former World Bank managing director, was sworn into her new role last month, pledging to cut Nigeria's budget deficit, boost job creation and finish failing infrastructure projects.

During her previous tenure as finance minister from 2003-06, Okonjo-Iweala stepped on some toes. She said her efforts to fight corruption this time were already putting her in the line of fire.

A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks last week alleged she steered $50 million contracts to her brother for contracting work during her previous tenure.

"(The story) is baseless fiction devoid of even a semblance of truth. It is based on two sentences in the alleged Wikileaks cable allegedly uttered by an unidentified person," her office said in a statement.

She said the cable had been manipulated by Nigerians with a vested interest in her anti-corruption practises failing.

"The attacks have started. They have been launched by people trying to do damage to my reputation. They will never succeed. You will see absolutely no turning back."

"Their underlying motivation is for this administration not to succeed. This will not stop, those people won't stop. When you fight corruption, corruption fights back."

Human Rights Watch said in a report last month that endemic corruption in Nigeria is carried out by top level politicians, fuelling violence and sustaining widespread poverty.

REUTERS.