Nigerian Economy, Corruption and Infrastructural Development, By

Corruption is constant in every society and it occurs in all civilised societies. It has many different shapes as well as various effects, both on economies and societies at large. Among the most common causes of corruption are political, economic, environmental, professional, customs, tradition, demography, ethics, morality etc.

Corruption hinders economic growth, reduces tax revenue, employment and investments opportunities. It also reduces the effectiveness of various financial assistance programs and affects access to infrastructures, health care and necessities that helps sustain life.

In order to manage and reduce corruption in societies, the law of that society must be tailored to fit it because what works in one country or region might not necessarily work in another.

Corruption is the major challenge affecting the growth of Nigeria’s economy and a great threat to the existence of the nation. According to the Corruption Perception Index CPI report released by Transparency International, Nigeria was ranked 146th out of the 198 countries with a score of 26/100 – considered very corrupt .This is two steps lower from 144th position it ranked in 2018 and from all indications with the alleged massive corruption currently going on in the country, Nigeria’s ranking will be on the decrease if urgent steps are not taken.

The high corruption in Nigeria is a very pressing issue which affects public finances, foreign investments in the nation as well as quality of life of the citizens, for example the living conditions in the Niger Delta region and the corruption rocking the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is a good example of how the purpose of an agency can been defeated .It  has also shown how power can be abused  and used to misappropriate public funds.

According to National Bureau of Statistics, from September 2018 to October 2019, more than 82million Nigerians live on less than $1 daily. The high level of corruption in Nigeria calls for speedy intervention from our leaders as it is unbelievable to see the huge amount of cash in the hands of a few Nigerians. For example, a former Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Andrew Yakubu in 2017 told the court that the $9,772,800- and 74,000-pounds sterling cash, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) found in a safe in his Kaduna residence was given to him as gift.

We cannot continue to apply the same old formula and expect to achieve greater results. It is very sad that despite our great potentials and abundant natural resources, our economy has impacted very little in the lives of the people

Another example of large sums of monies found by EFCC was the $43.45 million cash found in an upscale apartment in Ikoyi-Lagos, earlier that week the agency also discovered $817,000 cash in a Lagos market and a further $1.5million cash at a shopping plaza. While almost half of Nigeria’s population (200million) live daily on less than a dollar.

These are just few examples of very large sums of monies found in few hands which could have been used to upgrade our national infrastructures and also improve the quality of life of the citizens. The actual number of looted funds are far more than this including the ones stashed in foreign banks around the world.

This recent scandal at NDDC and other very large sums found in houses and bank accounts of some Nigerians are a tip of the iceberg of how corruption is destroying Nigeria.

In March 2020,Nigerian Senate raised an alarm that Nigeria’s total debt profile had stood at N33trillion,with the approval of  President Muhammadu Buhari loan request of $22.7billion.This is another source of concern for Nigerians and the international community because the most recent estimate puts the debt service-to-revenue ratio at 60 percent, which is likely to worsen amid the high rate of corruption and steep decline in revenues associated with falling oil prices.

This pose a great danger to the existence and future of Nigeria. In an ideal society, it would be expected that some of the main players of this scandal would have been in jail or honourably resign from their positions to give room for transparency, fairness and display of patriotic quality leadership, but the opposite is the case as it stands.

While our nation is in serious deficit of basic infrastructural amenities in the areas of transportation, health, security, education, power, communication etc that can add value to the lives of the Nigerian people, some individuals are busy milking the resources of the nation dry.

Despite Nigeria being the largest economy (with gross domestic product of $446.543 2019) in Africa with diverse natural resources and currently the sixth world’s largest oil producer globally, we have not been able to utilise this advantage to boost our economy and improve the living conditions of our people.

Using the transport sector for example which increased its GDP from $642.927 to $720.241 million in 2019 added to the nations GDP. The sector urgently needs intervention as it has been lacking relevant attention from government in developing its infrastructures, adoption of modern policies to drive the sector and this is partly responsible for the poor state of the nation’s economy. All these have been hindered by the high corruption rate which hampers growth of the economy.

We cannot continue to apply the same old formula and expect to achieve greater results. It is very sad that despite our great potentials and abundant natural resources, our economy has impacted very little in the lives of the people.

Interestingly the 2019 global liveability index ranked Lagos- Nigeria as the second least city to live in, placed 139 out of 140 countries surveyed. While Vienna (Austria) was number one most liveable city, second was Melbourne (Australia), third was Sydney (Australia), fourth was Osaka (Japan) and Calgary (Canada) fifth.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also described Nigeria’s road networks as one of the poorest and deadliest transportation infrastructural systems in the world while data from the UNDP and the World Bank (WB) showed that Nigeria has suffered transportation infrastructure deficits for decades with one of the lowest indices in economic development in the last decade.

Nigeria with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $446.543 billion in 2019. Many experts believed that corruption could cost Nigeria up to 37 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2030, if urgent steps are not taken to deal with it by adopting better strategies, restructure our economy and hire the best hands to block all the loopholes in the economy.

It will also interest you to know that a World Bank indicator that promotes trading across borders measured the efficiency of different ports globally and ranked Nigerian Ports at 183 out of 185 countries in 2017.

It also classified Nigerian ports among the worst ports in the world due to lack of modern facilities causing challenges such as delay of import/export processes, difficulty in gaining access to the ports due to bad roads causing congestion, lack of modern security gadgets etc. All these are lacking because of the impacts of corruption to our economy and are partly responsible for why government’s projection to generate N2 trillion from the maritime industry cannot be achieved.

In conclusion, while the negative effects of corruption are threatening the existence of Nigeria and its economic progress, we must urgently go back to the drawing board to revaluate and ensure total enforcement of our existing laws and policies to block all avenues of corruption in our nation. We must also start recovering all looted funds home and abroad to upgrade the nation’s decayed infrastructures, our government should also urgently put structures in place to block other revenue leakages, engage the services of reputable forensic auditors in all sectors, diversify our economy to create more job opportunities and create a better living conditions for all Nigerians.

Source: Business Day

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