Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said on Tuesday that Nigeria lacked the institutions, systems and processes that are capable of preventing corruption.
She gave the assertion while presenting a paper titled: “Preventing Leakages in the Nigerian Economy” at the Catholic Caritas Foundation Forum in Abuja.
She regretted that the absence of the relevant systems and institutions to check corruption has given opportunities for people to engage in the act.
Her words:“This thing has been with us and we must crack it. This is not something that started in this country today; but it is something that we must crack.
“Fundamentally, we have to ask ourselves, why has this continued to be a problem; I am convinced that it is because we constantly look at the symptoms and not the cause of the disease.
“The cause of the disease is we don’t have in place the institutions, the systems and the processes to block and prevent it in the first place.
“That’s the only difference between us and the people abroad”.
She also said: “This is so important now because of technology and I am a total fan of the use of technology and electronic platforms to block the leakages in this country.
“We must use them the way they are being used in other countries”.
As for the efforts the present government was making to combat the menace, Okonjo Iweala said the introduction of the Government Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMS) has remarkably helped in reducing physical movement of cash to make payments and curb corruption while the Integrated Personnel Payment System had also helped government to remove ghost workers from the system and save money in the process.
She said:“We have been able to weed out about 62,893 ghost workers till date saving N208.7 billion and we have not finished in the system”
According to her, the names of the persons found to be involved in the act had been sent to the ICPC for further action.
She said the introduction of the electronic wallet system by the Ministry of Agriculture has also helped government to reduce corruption in fertilizer distribution in the country.