The Presidency on Sunday said contrary to what many might believe, Nigeria is winning the war on corruption under President Goodluck Jonathan’s watch.
It said although it might not be immediately clear to many, the fight against corruption has been taken several notches higher since Jonathan came on board.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, made this known in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja.
“There is no doubt that Nigeria is winning the war on corruption. It may not be immediately apparent to those who do not understand the dynamics of applying creative techniques in upturning an age-old habit that has cost this country a lot in terms of financial resources; but to those like the officials in Transparency International knowledgeable in the nuances of fighting corruption, a lot of grounds have been covered,” Okupe said.
He said the nation’s movement from its 144th position on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index last year to 136th position this year was an indication that a lot had been achieved by this administration in the anti-corruption fight.
He recalled that when the oganisation gave its verdict last year and Nigerians held the view that the Federal Government was not doing enough to fight corruption, the administration had assured that the Jonathan administration remained focus in its determination to completely eradicate corruption in public service.
He said the latest TI rating was a proof that Jonathan’s effort in the fight against corruption is yielding positive results.
He said, “There is no doubt that since President Jonathan came on board as president of this country, the fight against corruption has been taken several notches higher.
“Unlike any previous administration in the country‘s history, the present administration has instituted institutional reforms aimed at giving fillip to the anti-corruption war.
“One major area this fight has been visible is the agricultural sector where the administration’s carefully articulated and executed Agricultural Transformation Agenda ended forty years of corruption in the distribution of fertilizers to farmers.
“The same thing applies to the reforms in Ports where we have successfully plugged many loopholes which some corrupt officials had exploited to delay genuine business transactions and harm the Nigerian economy.
“The Old corrupt system of Government Direct Procurement and Distribution of Fertiliser as well as the operations in the various Ports and government agencies contributed in no small measure to the negative rating of Nigeria by the Transparency International and other global watchdogs.
“Also, the determination of President Jonathan to tackle corruption head on has seen the government take some other far reaching steps like the cleaning up of the import waiver system, which before his coming was fraught with corruption, nepotism, arbitrariness and other irregularities.
“As a result of this, billions of Naira were lost to the economy as the real business people failed to benefit.
“While it was important for suspects involved in corruption cases to be tried and if found guilty sent to jail, what is more important is for the development of mechanisms, the institution of structures and the enactment of policies that would plug loopholes and foster transparency such that the propensity for corruption is made more difficult and eliminated completely.”
This, he said, was what the Jonathan administration had been doing and that was the template adopted by countries like Denmark and New Zealand, which are at the top of the TI index.
Like New Zealand, Okupe said the Jonathan administration was deploying Information and Communications Technology to tackle corruption head on.