Written by Emmanuel Ogbeche

I came at a wrong time, says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed reservations about the timing of his presidency given the quantum of problems his administration inherited.

Addressing the Nigerian community in London, United Kingdom on Friday, the president wondered why oil, which used to sell for over $140 per barrel, would reduce to $30 per barrel during his time as the president.

He said, “With the problems we have in this government, I sometimes wonder. At least, this time around, I asked for it, I prayed for it, I went round the country and I asked for it. But the first time under the military, I allowed the military to take decision.

“But I say why me? Why is it that it is when they have spent all the money, when they made the country insecure that I returned?

“Why didn’t I come when the treasury was full? Oil price was over $140 per barrel and when I came, it slipped down to $30. Why me?

“I keep on praying to God to pity Nigeria and its over 170 million people who are exposed to climate change, illiteracy and poverty.”

Speaking on the strides his regime has made over the past seven months, Buhari said his administration had succeeded in mopping up over N2.2trn as of January through the Treasury Single Account, TSA.

While acknowledging that the TSA was introduced by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, the administration did not implement but he decided to implement the TSA when he came on board and discovered that the country was broke.

“You know the condition we are in now. I am sure with demands from home, in spite of what your effort is, you know we are really in trouble.

“We have tried to impose what we call Treasury Single Account. The reason is simple. This government did not initiate it; it was initiated by the previous government. But it was so unpopular to the bureaucracy, so the previous government for its own reasons could not impose it.

“But when we came and we found out that we were broke, we said this is the way to do it.

“I will tell you two examples to convince you. Firstly, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had more than 45 accounts. Ministry of Defence had more than 70 accounts. Tell me which Accountant-General can trace all these accounts?

“So, we imposed TSA. By the end of December, coming to January 2016, we mopped up more than N2.2trn which would have been used through bureaucratic system to raise vouchers and sign cheques so that they don’t go into the next budget.”

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