By Cecilia Ologunagba
A don, Prof. Sarah Anyanwu, has advised the Federal Government to conduct corruption survey in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) annually to measure level of bribery in the public service.
Anyanwu, a Professor of Development Economics in the Department of Economics, University of Abuja, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
She spoke against the backdrop of the just released Corruption in Nigeria survey published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The bureau stated that it was estimated that the total amount of bribes paid to public officials in Nigeria in the 12 months prior to the survey was around N400 billion.
The don said that the survey should be done often because most of the alleged bribery activities were carried out in the MDAs.
According to her, bribing is a critical issue in Nigeria which has affected the public finances, business investment as well as standard of living.
The don said that the impact of bribing could be seen in low governance effectiveness, especially through smaller tax base and inefficient government expenditure.
“This means that bribing is the major cause of government ineffectiveness and lack of prudence in government expenditure.
“The government ineffectiveness and Nigeria’s tax revenues of less than 10 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) revealed the economic impact of spending N400 billon on bribes annually,’’ she said.
She further said that bribery had weakened investment in the country, especially Foreign Direct Investment.
“This means that it is harder to predict and to do business under such circumstances of high level of corruption, which affects the dividends of investment in the economy.
“Also, high spending on bribing and corruption has affected human capital development in Nigeria, especially the poor are unable to access healthcare and education services,’’ the don said.
Anyanwu said that the corruption survey was an eye opener because it has made the policy makers to know the nature, causes and impact of corruption in Nigeria.
She, however, said that the survey might not have the ability to provide the adequate policies needed to reduce the level of corruption in Nigeria.
“Even when the survey has the adequate policies needed to reduce the level of corruption in Nigeria, effective implementation is another problem,’’ the don said.
According to her, there is link between corruption and high level of unemployment in the country which Nigerians seen as the greatest problem.
Anyanwu said that corruption had negative impact on investment for both business and human capital development.
“Therefore, reducing the chances of job creation by investors and thereby increasing the rate of unemployment in the economy,’’ she said.
On the other hand, the don said that investment in human capital development increases the chances of job opportunities and increasing the productivity level of an individual.
“Lack of access to opportunities to human capital development has made many Nigerian unemployed.
“Viewing from another angle, in some cases, many public and private jobs and job opportunities are given to those who can offer bribes.
“Also, there is the issue of ghost workers in the public sector, thereby preventing the unemployed Nigerians from getting jobs,’’ she said (NAN)