Economic Growth Increases Corruption in Nigeria

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Ojobo Atuluku

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ActionAid releases a report on poverty June 30, saying that economic growth led to the an increase in corruption in the country

| By Anayo Ezugwu | Jul 13, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |

ActionAid Nigeria, an anti-poverty organisation, has unveiled a detailed report highlighting the impact of corruption on poverty in Nigeria and identified the linkages between both factors. The report which was made public at a well-attended national dialogue on Tuesday, June 30, showcased the level of corruption in the country among various government organs and private sector, with a corresponding impact on the level of poverty among the citizens.

The various lessons from the report included the fact that economic growth led to an increase in the level of corruption and a corresponding rise in the incidence of poverty among citizens in both the rural and urban communities of the country. The high level of corruption perception index which Nigeria suffers on a yearly basis in the Transparency International ranking is in inverse relation to the low performance of Nigeria under the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP.

Setting the tone for the report release and subsequent dialogue, Ojobo Atuluku, country director of ActionAid Nigeria, said the national dialogue was as a result of the escalating poverty in Nigeria. She said although Nigeria is now the largest economy in Africa, the incidence of poverty has grown in a negative way and that the population of Nigerians living in poverty is increasing every year.

Atuluku, who admitted that government initiated a lot of interventions to check the spread of poverty, however, said the scourge had not abated and there was need for stakeholders to find out why this is so. She expressed belief that poverty could be eradicated in Nigeria instead of the government preference for alleviation, adding that this belief was the starting point. She commended key government officials who attended the event.

On his part, Y. Z. Ya’u of CITAD, Kano, and one of the researchers of the report, revealed that 2,105 people from around the country responded to various questions bordering on poverty and corruption. The feedback was collated and analysed to form the data base for the report. He said that corruption reduces the capacity of the state to govern and undermined its legitimacy, while it increases inequality and reduces economic growth. According to him, poverty is more widespread in the rural areas but it is now increasing in the urban areas.

In the report summary of findings, it was revealed that state governments, ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, local governments have mismanaged public funds, while money laundering is a major means by which the country’s wealth is siphoned and stashed abroad.

The report, which was formally launched by Hussain Abdu, immediate past country director of ActionAid, also noted that private sector was involved in corruption through kick-back, under-declaration of profits and non-performance, while operations in the oil and extractive industry was still opaque and prone to corruption.

Among some of the recommendations contained in the report were special programmes for areas with high incidence of poverty through geographical targeting; social protection policy; strengthening of state-citizen relations; making corruption a development issue; compliance with the FoI Act by all MDAs; autonomy for all anti-corruption agencies, ACAs, to enable them discharge their mandate in fighting corruption; public reward system; and increased support and commitment to NEITI to ensure accountability in the extractive industry.

Different stakeholders and participants who attended the report presentation included the civil society organisations, government agencies, academia, international donors and partners, media and community representatives.

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