The Vice President of Nigeria Yemi Osinbajo has acknowledge that corruption has not been completely dealt with in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration as the cankerworm has become systematic in the country.
He further stated that when the government was committed in fighting corruption, because of the systematic problem, corruption always fight back.
According to Vanguard, the Vice President who stated this yesterday at the 7th Presidential Quarterly Business Forum for private sector stakeholders at the Conference Centre, Old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja, noted that with President Buhari on the saddle, there was fears in many quarters that anyone caught indulging in corrupt practices would be dealt with.
According to him, “I am not saying that corruption under this administration has been completely dealt with, no certainly not. Where corruption has become systematic such as we have in our country today, you cannot deal with it in one full fell swoop, it is not possible. In any event you still have a lot of corruption fighting back. The system fights back and its both an internal and external fight back and you have to be steadfast and strategic to win the battle.
“There is no way that you have a system such as ours that has consistently thrived on corruption and proceeds of corruption and public financing in particular, that will give up and say guys, the problem has been solved. No.
“It is a system that feeds on corruption and it affects all aspects of governance, so trying to deal with it is certainly not a walk in the park.
“But I want to say that that task has already begun and that task is being done consistently and I believe that going forward in the next few years, no matter how we are criticized, if w stick to policy especially controlling excesses and corruption in public finance, this country will make the kind of progress that it deserves to make with all the resources at our disposal.
“If we stick to the policy of ensuring that as far as public finance is concern, there is no impunity and that we hold people to account, I am absolutely confident that this country has what it really takes to make the kind of progress we deserve to make as a nation.”
“This is grand corruption in the public finance space. Sometimes the way we talk about the Nigerian economy it does appear as if it is the economy of say Norway or somewhere where all things are equal. Even when we refer to what has taken place in our economy we almost sound as if this is in every sense a very normal business environment, a very normal public finance environment but that is not the case.
“I do not think that any consideration about our economy development can be properly and honestly done without fully analyzing corruption, especially grand corruption in the public finance space.
“You see that despite record high levels of oil prices, very little was invested in infrastructure and a record level of leakages were recorded in the past few years.
“This is the fundamental issue in our economy. Corruption affects everything. It affects even judgment as to what sort of infrastructure to put in place or whether infrastructure will ever be complete. It is so fundamental that can’t even think of our economy without thinking of what to do about it.
“Sometimes when we talk about our economy we talk about the fact that we have relied of single commodity and that is one of the reasons why we are where we are. Yes, that’s quite through but the fact is that, proceeds from that single commodity were regularly hijacked consistently by a few. That is really the problem. If we had spent the proceeds from that single commodity the way we ought to, we won’t be where we are today. Most of the proceeds went to rent seekers in the industry and production.
“For example, I am sure many of us are familiar with the so called Strategic Alliance Contract with the NNPC and NDDC. The promoters of the companies made away with close to $3 billion, almost a tenth of our reserves. There is no way if someone made away with a tenth of your reserves that you will not have a major economic shock. And if we don’t deal with it, if we don’t talk about it, how will we be able to discuss our economy in a real honest way with a view to ensuring that these things do not happen again.
Speaking at the meeting, the organized private sector called on the Federal Government to rehabilitate ports in the eastern flank of the country like the Warri, Port Harcourt, Onitsha and Calabar ports in order to boost the economy, adding that most of the importers were from the area where the ports had been abandoned and made to be dormant.