Corruption in the public sector, work ethics and productivity
Identifying Nigeria’s problems without mentioning corruption is corruption itself. Corruption issues have been a major element in winning and losing elections in this country. The promise to root out corruption was sold by the All Progressives Congress and the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Retired) to the electorate as the party to beat in 2015. This implies that Nigerians have always been aware of the immeasurable damage that corruption has caused. unleashed over their well-being and continued to search for a way out of the quagmire. The people desperately needed a solution to corruption and underdevelopment.
So, this was well-calculated party propaganda, and he had a marketable candidate with the anti-corruption track record required for this election. Voting for the APC was then not stupidity on the part of the people but patriotism. The belief was that Nigeria would become great again with corrupt activities reduced, if not eliminated. Before the end of 2019, it became apparent that the APC sold a dummy to the people in 2015, and voting for him the second time around was because the available alternative could not be considered better. However, the situation today is different from that of the past, which is to let the parties know that none of them should be bold enough to campaign on the basis of corruption. It would be hard to sell.
At the current level, “Holy Honesty” is not welcome in Nigeria. We now distrust each other. It’s not that we don’t have honest people among the citizens, but no one will believe anyone who proclaims honesty. As it stands, none of the leading candidates in the 2023 presidential election claim to be an angel. Nigerians wish they had an angel but they know politicians are hard to believe. The fear of the APC gadget is the beginning of wisdom in the matter.
The concern in this article is not to dwell on the past but to broaden the scope of the corrupt activities presented in a previous article on the same subject. Specifically, it seeks to identify corruption in the public sector and the implications for the sector’s apparently low productivity. If the public sector of the Nigerian economy is functioning properly, macroeconomic conditions for Nigerians would be better than they are now.
In an article entitled “Corruption: let’s talk about it” published in The punch on January 17, 2022, I explained that Ruzindana identified corruption as multifaceted, and therefore included these often overlooked items as normal activities in our climate. Corruption, therefore, as pointed out by Ruzindana, consists of elements or events such as bribery, extortion, illegal use of public property for private gain, overcharging and undercharging, payment of ghost workers and retirees, payment for goods or services not provided. not rendering so-called “air supply”, underpayment of taxes and duties on exports or inputs through misrepresentation, purchase of goods at inflated prices, fraud and embezzlement, misappropriation of assets, court rulings awarding damages greater than any harm suffered, removal of document or even complete file, and red-tapism cum favoritism when wanting to see an officer. Ruzindana was not just talking about the situation in Nigeria; he was speaking globally. However, if the comment is about examples of corruption in Nigeria, the list will be much longer.
In the same post, I referenced Rose-Ackerman, who identified four stylized types of corrupt states: kleptocratic states, bilateral monopoly states, mafia-dominated states, and top-tier competitive corruption states. level. When a country reaches the highest level of these states, as Nigeria currently is, turning the tide becomes more technical, and with actions that can consume leadership.
Since the publication under reference, however, new events have been identified as constituting corruption in Nigeria. It is corrupt for anyone to pay for work done or not done in a foreign currency. The situation in which, as noted, delegates to party primaries were “paid”, “compensated” or bribed in foreign currency must be considered an unforgivable level of corruption. The same goes for a government, for example, which decides to reward Nigerian sportsmen living in Nigeria, artists or those who excel in their profession but live here, in foreign currencies. Such an action has negative implications on the economy, especially on the exchange rate. High-level politicians are now competing with foreign currencies, destroying the local value of the local currency.
There are so many untoward things that officials or officials do negligently or deliberately that harm economic development. The other day while traveling to Ogun State from Lagos, I noticed many new public buses parked under a bridge. It was the third time I had seen them there in six weeks. Upon request, I was informed that these buses either needed batteries or tires. Drivers of these buses, supervisors or superiors would be paid at the end of the month for not doing their job or for sleeping while on duty. It is bribery. It is a common scene in the civil service when workers vandalize or deliberately keep their tools to avoid working for their salaries or wages. In some other cases, workers from the same office only come to the office on certain days of their choosing during a week or month; while spending the remaining days moonlighting.
The other day my vehicle got stuck for “bad parking” as they call it. “Officer”, another corrupting title for the responsible clerk or attendant, gave me a heavy fine and started to negotiate with me on how he could help me pay less. I suspected that the fine was not that high, but there was nothing I could do. Anyway, I decided to make the payment officially and get a receipt. All attempts to get me to pay him failed and he finally agreed to take the money back and issue a receipt. I told him that we normally pay at the office, which fortunately is not very far. At the office I was told that the officer in charge of payment and reception had just left and had to wait. Another of the officers tried to convince me to settle down so I could leave. I was adamant. Luckily a gentleman patted me from behind and it was an old friend who worked in the vehicle department; this time, a real official. He asked them to collect the fine and issue a receipt while we exchanged our greetings. The charge was actually less than half of what I would have paid on the street. My friend picked up the receipt and asked me who issued it. There was a silence, until one of them called out a name and said that the person had just left. It was a fake receipt!
This is how we destroy our economy and complain about low productivity, low income, late or non-payment of wages, lack of motivation to work and working very hard. Finally, low output per worker is the order of the day in most public services. In many cases, the civil service is overloaded with surplus staff who collect salaries for doing next to nothing, or do not collect salaries regularly due to low incomes. Nobody wonders how unpaid workers get money to be in their offices on a daily basis. It is necessary to ask questions if we are concerned about Nigeria.
The cover-up that exists in virtually all ministries, departments and agencies further reinforces corruption and consequent low productivity in the civil service. Sometimes, to overcome inefficiency and shortfall, some governors hire the services of revenue consultants while paying the employed staff who could not do their job effectively. The hiring of consultants should be temporary and serve as a benchmark for the amount of income expected from regular staff. Otherwise, another level of indolence and corruption is developed.
The state of competitive corruption that Nigeria currently finds itself in, and which is the most dangerous step on the corruption ladder, demands that we find a solution to corruption if the country is to grow and develop. It was our referred Kabiyesi, His Royal Majesty, the Awujale of Ijebu Land, Oba Sikiru Adetona, who in his wisdom said, “Before a yam seed begins to sprout, it must be completely rotten. Maybe Nigeria is not completely rotten yet and we have to wait a bit.