Nigeria ponders strategies to combat corruption
Isa Ali Pantami, Nigeria’s Communications and Digital Economy Minister, has called for the digitization of government processes to curb corruption that is stunting the full realisation of that country's economic growth.
Pantami’s speech was read on his behalf by the director general of National Information Technology Development Agency during the seminar on anti-corruption last week . The event was organised by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
In his speech, Pantami said the digitisation of government process ensures officials will not have monopoly of power as everything will be computerised and transparent.
There has been an increase in cases of corruption in Nigeria’s public sector for the past half a decade and the battle to combat the scourge has been ongoing.
The West African nation lost about $1 billion between 2014 and 2018 through fraud, extortion, bribery and subsidy abuse- an amount that is more than Nigeria's combined capital expenditure on health and education over the same period.
"When you digitize government operations and processes, nobody will have a monopoly of power to compromise, nobody will do things at his (or her) discretion because when the process is being automated, there is no need to meet physically to get services, everything will be open and transparent,” said Pantami.
This will democratize government service delivery, thereby ensuring accountability, simply because records are kept and can be checked at any time needed, he said.
Pantami added that the Communications and Digital Economy Ministry have been hard at work towards curbing the sharp corruption practices which are stunting the growth and development of the country.
“There is a need to put down strategies and policies that will mitigate such acts. This will pave ways for speedy development of the country,” said Pantami.
Pantami mentioned that his ministry was in full support of the activities of the CCB, whose objectives were to tackle and eliminate corrupt practices across the country, with the ultimate aim of creating an enabling environment for transparency and accountability of the activities of government.
Speaking at the same event, justice minister and attorney general of the Federation, barrister Abubakar Malami said there was a need to deepen the anti-corruption war by government.
Malami said that there was a need to make government operations and processes open and transparent to ensure accountability.
CCB chairman Isah Mohammed said they all needed to work together to crackdown on corrupt activities, which were affecting the government operations and processes in Nigeria.
“The Bureau was established in response to the allegations of corruption against government operations in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s which resulted in a coup and counter coups, with trillions of money stolen from both domestic and foreign bodies as a result of corrupt practices by public office holders and to date we are still striving to eliminate the scourge,” he said.