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Nigeria winning war against corruption 'Presidency

Published by Tribune on Mon, 08 Dec 2014

FOLLOWING Nigeria's improved rating in the latest Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2014, the Presidency, on Sunday, declared that the country was winning the war against corruption.According to the report, Nigeria's rating improved as it moved eight places from the 144th position it was last year to 136 this year.A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, in Abuja, observed that the policies instituted by President Goodluck Jonathan's administration had reduced corruption in many sectors.'There is no doubt that Nigeria is winning the war against corruption. It may not be immediately apparent to those who do not understand the dynamics of applying creative techniques in upturning an age-old habit that has cost this country a lot in terms of financial resources; but to those like the officials in Transparency International knowledgeable in the nuances of fighting corruption, a lot of grounds have been covered,' the statement said.The Presidency recalled that last year when the 2013 report was released and critics of the Jonathan-led administration had used the occasion to declare that the Federal Government was not doing enough to fight corruption, the Presidency had assured that the administration remained focused in its determination to completely eradicate corruption in public service.It added: 'The latest TI rating is proof that President Jonathan's effort in the fight against corruption is yielding positive results. There is no doubt that since President Jonathan came on board as president of this country, the fight against corruption has been taking several notches higher. Unlike any previous administration in the country's history, the present administration has instituted institutional reforms aimed at giving fillip to the anti-corruption war.'One major area this fight has been visible is the agricultural sector where the administration carefully articulated and executed Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) ended 40 years of corruption in the distribution of fertilizers to farmers. The same thing applies to the reforms in Ports where we have successfully plugged many loopholes which some corrupt officials had exploited to delay genuine business transactions and harm the Nigerian economy.'The old corrupt system of government's direct procurement and distribution of fertilizer, as well as the operations in the various ports and government agencies contributed in no small measure to the negative rating of Nigeria by the Transparency International and other global watchdogs.'Also, the determination of President Jonathan to tackle corruption head on has seen the government take some other far reaching steps like the cleaning up of the import waiver system, which, before his coming, was fraught with corruption, nepotism, arbitrariness and other irregularities. As a result of this, billions of Naira were lost to the economy as the real business people failed to benefit.'While it is important for suspects involved in corruption cases to be tried and, if found guilty, sent to jail, what is more important is for the development of mechanisms, the institution of structures and the enactment of policies that would plug loopholes and foster transparency such that the propensity for corruption is made more difficult and eliminated completely.'This is what the Jonathan-led administration has been doing and this is the template adopted by countries like Denmark and New Zealand, which are at the top of the TI index. Like New Zealand, the Jonathan-led administration is adroitly deploying Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to tackle corruption head on.'The Presidency noted that key reforms instituted by the administration like the electronic payment system and the IPPS system have helped reduced corruption in the system, stressing that of particular importance is the fact that through these institutional reforms, the Federal Government has been able to weed out as many as 50,000 ghost workers and saved the country billions of naira in the process.Citing other measures that have led to reduction in corruption, the Presidency observed that the TI's improved rating is an acknowledgment of the importance of the reforms.It further stated: 'Aside these critical reforms, another major step taken by President Jonathan in his fight against corruption is the signing into law the Freedom of Information Act. Before that landmark step was taken, the conduct of government business in many sectors was shrouded in utmost secrecy; today things are different as government officials mindful of the fact that Nigerian citizens can under the Act seek and obtain information about their activities, operate within the rules.'There is no doubt that the FOI Act has reduced the propensity for corruption among public officials as attested to by our improved rating in the latest Transparency International report.'We must also not forget that the Jonathan administration in the privatization of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) carried out the most efficient and transparent privatization exercise in the history of this country. That exercise eliminated every avenue for corruption and was globally acclaimed by global financial institutions.'These and the successes achieved under the well packaged and carefully executed electoral reforms has obviously sent signals to Nigerians and the international community that with the Jonathan administration, it will no longer be 'business as usual'.'Between November 2013 and August this year, there were three Governorship elections all conducted with professionalism and by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The president's party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost two of those elections without President Jonathan interfering to confer any advantage on his party.'The Presidency maintained that Jonathan will not relent in his efforts to ensure that the war against corruption is totally won in all facets of national life especially with the cooperation of all citizens.
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