Updated: Jan 24, 2019
Corruption frustrates developmental processes. Corruption ruins. This past year, the United Nations marked the 15th anniversary of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and the International Anti-Corruption Day.
This commemoration is of particular significance when you consider what corruption inflicts on growth and development so much so that it has been named as one of the biggest impediments to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. In my opinion, the submission is mild; corruption is the biggest impediment to development strategies.
Blessed with great economic potentials and millions of creative citizens, Nigeria struggles with the burden of corrupt practices. Central to these struggles are suspect transactions and the adoption of regulatory capture by government institutions to guide operations in the country’s public and private sectors. Even as some of the country’s government agencies pursue regulatory capture as against making businesses and monopolies to play in line with public interest, there are a few institutions that appreciate transparency and believe that things should be done differently.
The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Nigeria’s higher institution admission body, understands the principle of transparency and how it shapes ethical business practices. Managed by a former university vice-chancellor, the body’s finances have improved considerably these past years. In July 2018, JAMB remitted N7.8bn to the Federation account from the 2018 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination. In the past, the body’s corporate reputation was immersed in non-remittance of revenues to government coffers. This sharp practice truncated government’s efforts at providing enabling infrastructure for citizens. The practice ate into the trust that citizens deposited with government and her agencies. However, the narrative has changed considerably. The body is perhaps more aware than ever before that transparency is integral to attaining goals 8, 10 and 11 of the United Nations’ SDGs due in 2030.
Another worthy institution is the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI). Inspired by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003, NEITI is an advocate of global best practices in the country’s extractives sector. It has proven itself to be a formidable force in the Global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative network by ensuring that the country keeps track of, and manage her abundant natural endowment. Notably, Nigeria became the first country in the 51-member global EITI network to support implementation with legislation through NEITI Act 2007, and in January 2017, Global EITI recognised Nigeria’s progress in addressing natural resource governance. The global body commended and urged Nigeria to do more.
While the transparency efforts of these government agencies deserve commendation, the push for greater levels of transparency still remains relevant in conversations around development.