Corruption is global, not excluding Nigeria. It is inimical to economic growth, which serves as a bane to development in Nigeria. It is very easy to talk about corruption, but like many other complex phenomena, it is difficult to define corruption in concise and concrete terms. Not surprising, there is often a consensus as to what exactly constitutes this concept. However, in recent years there is a body of theoretical and empirical research on corruption [Bardhan 1997]. As conceptualized by some studies, corruption is seen as a “daunting obstacle to sustainable development”, a constraint on education, health care and poverty alleviation and a great impediment to the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by half the number of people living in extreme poverty [Balasa 2001].
Corruption is a pressing issue in Nigeria, as it affects public finances, business investment as well as standard of living. Recent corruption scandals have highlighted large sums that have been stolen and/or misappropriated. But little has been done to explore the dynamic effects of corruption that affect the long-run capacity of the country to achieve its potential. Take for example, when jobs or contracts are given to people or companies who offer bribes or share a personal connection, this occurs to the detriment of competition. The result is that more qualified candidates and firms are turned down, hence the more widespread such practices are, the more inefficient the economy becomes.
Corruption also erodes the trust we have in the public sector to act in our best interests. It wastes taxes and rates meant for important community projects. This results in poor quality services or infrastructure, or projects never getting off the ground.
The challenges facing the country’s oil industry is another remarkable example of corrupt practices ongoing in the country. Most of these factories in and around the country are not functioning at present as it has either been shut down or otherwise. However, for reasons best known to the political officials in charge of the country’s yearly budget, huge sum of money is being allocated to these factories, which we are well informed that the factories are not functioning.
Corrupted economies are not able to function properly because corruption prevents the natural laws of the economy from functioning freely. As a result, corruption in a nation’s political and economic operations causes its entire society to suffer. The cumulative effect of individual corrupt acts is dysfunctionality. Whether offered by the public or private sectors, the quality of goods and services decrease, and the process of obtaining them becomes more expensive, time consuming and unfair.
There was a probe into pension funds that affected about 141,790 pensioners. The Chairman of Pension Reform Task Team, was accused of looting N195 billion.
The Senate set up a committee to investigate the matter. During investigation, it was alleged that a representative from Akwa Ibom State demanded $100,000 from him as bribe. A former director of pension in the office of the Head of Service of the Federation, who was prosecuted along with 31 others, also alleged that other members of the committee collected a bribe of N3 billion from him. Although the Senate seemed furious about the allegation, it did not take decisive steps to investigate.
These and many other corrupt practices that have been taking place in the country have affected the economy of the country in so many ways.
Akaba is a student of the Department of English and Literary Studies of Delta State University, Abraka