Post Views: 177 The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday said how much revenue a country makes or how transformative its plans are, it may...
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday said how much revenue a country makes or how transformative its plans are, it may not translate to better life its citizenry if it allows corruption to flourish.
That was why, he noted, even when the country made the highest revenue from crude oil sales in her history between 2010 and 2014, her debt level doubled and poverty figures rose.
Speaking on Tuesday, at the summit on corruption, organized by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACA) in Abuja, Osinbajo noted that “Nigeria’s 2030 GDP can be up by at least $534bn if we reduce corruption… by about 20%.”
This is why he continued, “President Muhammadu Buhari famously warned that if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us,” and why a major pillar of the government’s socio-economic agenda is the fight against corruption.
It was for this reason, he added, one of the first bodies to be set up in 2015 by Buhari was PACAC, despite which the battle against corruption is not yet won, but still very far off the target, even if “much closer to finding solutions than when we began.”
“Our policy was to tackle grand corruption first. By this, I mean the stealing of huge public resources directly from the treasury, usually at the behest of the highest levels of executive authority and the stealing of budgeted funds through various schemes.”
One way this was done, he stressed, was enforcement of the Treasury Single Account, “the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit, and even ensuring that most civil servants are on the IPPIS electronic platform (which simply is our way of ensuring that there are no ghost workers by putting all public officials including those in the Armed Forces and the police on the electronic payment platform) and this has greatly reduced ghost workers and ensured that all of our human resources are accounted for electronically. “
The Federal Government, he assured, is “now poised to deal with the wider problem of systemic corruption, especially where the average person interacts with government.
“It is that level of corruption that affects our people the most – where the average person is doing some business or is seeking some favour or some discretion from the government.”
The Vice President said there is no reason why any Nigerian should pay bribes to law enforcement agents for obtaining drivers licenses or passports or to clear goods at our ports, or corruption in the issuance of contracts, licenses, and other government approvals.
The next level in the anti-corruption battle, he stressed, is creating an environment for collaboration between government agencies, civil society, and other stakeholders, lamenting that “the most potent weapon that corruption has is its acceptance as the norm in any society.
“An enemy configured in such complexity cannot be defeated by solely a law and order approach. It requires a whole new national and individual reorientation, a focus on attitudinal change. It must involve the collaboration of government, civil society especially the leadership of faith communities, school teachers and professional and other interest groups. This is why this meeting’s objectives are of great importance,” he stressed further.
The meeting to discuss “a collaborative approach to eradicating the evils of corruption,” Osinbajo continued, follows from its remaining Nigeria’s most devastating problem, as corroborated by a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study on the impact of corruption on the Nigerian economy.
General findings and conclusions on the effects of corruption from the report, he noted, include the dynamic impact of corruption which is felt more by poorer households and smaller companies. This apart from the fact that corruption-prone countries “are associated with lower tax revenues and lower expenditures as a percentage of GDP in the most important indicators of human development namely; health and education.”
Corruption is associated with erosion of talent in public institutions and therefore, government’s effectiveness is eroded, he noted, just as it usually thrives in the presence of unnecessary bureaucracy to enable further opportunities for bribes.
The PwC report, the Vice President stressed also associated corruption with lower investment, higher prices and barriers to entry for businesses; besides the lower average standard of living, education levels and greater inequality in society.
Photo Caption: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, discussing with Col. Hameed Alli, Comptroller General of Customs during the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC) summit on Corruption; held in Abuja on Tuesday, May 14, 2019. With them is Prof. Itsey Sagay, chairman of PACAC.