Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has confirmed that 40 percent of corruption in Nigeria used to be in business, process and general public service delivery.
“For instance, we realized that following the release of 2019 Transparency International’s corruption perception index, we initiated reforms to improve on ease of doing business indices. “This is because we found that up to 40% of the country’s corruption perception survey indices related to business, process and general public service delivery. So, that is why we are concentrating on the ease of doing business, making sure that people can get to the ports, clear the goods in good time and by the time some of these forms start yielding fruits, I’m sure that perception will improve.”
The minister, who was reacting the latest rating of Nigeria by the Transparency International, in an interview with news men today, March 24, insisted that the rating does not truly reflect the great strides that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has made in the area of fighting corruption.
“The government has put in place various reforms in fighting corruption, but some of these reforms will take time to yield the desired results because the matrix used by TI is not just about grafts alone. It includes how transparent or how opaque the services are and you’ll find out that when we scored in the 2018, 2019 transparency reports, we realised that we scored very low in the area of ease of doing business in particular.
“That is why the federal government embarked on reforms, especially at the seaports, because that is one area where we scored very low and you’ll see that in recent times, we’ve embarked on numerous reforms at our seaports so that our rating will improve.
According to the minister, government is putting in place mechanisms that would help prevent corruption and improve transparency in all sectors.
“We are putting more emphasis on the preventive mechanism of corruption rather than prosecution. We believe that it’s more important to put in place preventive mechanism rather than prosecution and this preventive mechanism that we’ve put in place include the programme launched by the ICPC, which is what they called the National Ethics Policy, which addresses integrity issues in all sectors of the polity and is directly linked to the pillar of national anti-corruption strategy.
“Also, the Code of Conduct Bureau has put in place some preventive measures, especially in the area of energising the code of conduct for public officers. The Council for Ease of Doing Business recently launched the Nigerian Ports Process manual which is a kind of manual to help people going to the port to make it easy for them to process goods.
“In addition, we actually also analysed the process that the TI used in the rating that was used recently and we found quite a few discrepancies in the rating process, including some data sources in which Nigeria’s course has remained flat over the past 10 years.
“What we said is that we take these ratings seriously, so we actually went and analysed the ratings and we found that there’ve been some gaps. It’s either we’ve not flooded enough data or they have not revised all data because we found it strange that the country’s rating in certain areas has remained the same for a period of 10 years and we are taking the media measures so that they can get this data in respect of these sectors because we believe that it’s not possible for you not to improve, for you not to lose points for 10 years. So, there’s a bit of discrepancy there.
“So, the federal government, through its Presidential Council on Ease of Doing Business, has embarked on certain reforms at the ports, at the Corporate Affairs Commission, that will make it easier to do business. We saw the rating, but it does not reflect correctly the efforts of this government in trying to curb corruption.”