The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has called for synergy between government and the business community to prevent corruption from undermining the continent’s ability to achieve sustainable growth.
Osinbajo, represented by Mrs Mariam Uwais, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investment, made the call at the Africa Business Ethics Conference (ABEC) on Wednesday in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference had as its theme: “Tackling Corruption to Reduce Poverty and Unemployment in Africa: A Necessity for Building Resilience to Global Risks”.
Osinbajo stated that the conference’s theme aligned with the three focus areas of the Buhari administration on ensuring security, combating corruption and rebuilding the Nigerian economy.
He reaffirmed government’s commitment to improving governance by entrenching transparency, fighting corruption, reinforcing security, improving the public service and strengthening coordination with subnational governments.
“The new social compact to end poverty in all its forms, ensure economic growth, economic diversification, value addition, productive employment envisioned by the Addis- Ababa action agenda states that sound economical, social and environmental policies including good governance at all levels are necessary to achieve our goals.
“This agenda further emphasises that the rule of law, fighting corruption at all levels and in all its forms, civil society and independent media, among others, also play important role in this regard.
“While the fundamental objectives and directives principles of state policies of the 1999 Constitution directs the state to harness the economic potential of the country, it also confers the right on any person to participate in economic activities and business enterprises.
“It is internationally recognized that the fight against corruption is not a one stakeholder affair but a joint responsibility of the state and the private sector.
“Businesses in Africa must interrogate their roles in the enrichment of other continents through illicit flights of the African assets and wealth thereby denying the continent of money that can solve insecurity, poverty and unemployment,” the vice-president said.
Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), said that efforts were ongoing to resuscitate values of honesty, integrity to largely minimise cases of corruption in the country.
Owasanoye, represented by Mr Mohammed Baba, Director ICPC, said some of the efforts included catching the youths at their formative years by forming anti-corruption clubs in secondary school.
Owasanoye added that the national curriculum was also revised by infusing anti- corruption values on honesty, integrity, nationalism, and patriotism into examinable subjects.
“The students would then grow up with these values inbuilt in their character and attitude.
“We have initiated national ethics and integrity policy which cuts across the private and the public sector with a view to restoring national ethics and values with implementation cascaded down to the grassroot level.
“We also established anti-corruption monitoring units in Ministries, Departments and Agencies and all these policies are yielding great dividends.
“We have been able to save government about N146 billion from MDAs alone,” he said.
NAN reports that a competition to determine the winner of the ABEC ambassador challenge received 84 entries and had 6 finalists as part of the conference.
Mr Oladipo Gabriel, Mr Adedayo Olaku and Temitope Benjamin came 6th, 5th and 4th, respectively, with a cash prize of N200,000 each and an invitation to attend the bootcamp to further develop their ideas.
While Mr Lateef Oseni, Ms Chiamaka Ibe and Mr Chukuemeka Osigwe came 3rd, 2nd and 1st positions, respectively, with a cash price of N400,000 and an invitation to the bootcamp to refine their ideas. (NAN)