Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has said the poor rating of Nigeria on the recently released perception index of Transparency International (TI) on corruption is not a setback, but a call to consolidate on the progress already being made in the fight against graft across all sectors in the country.
The vice president said this during a dialogue on reforms of justice sector and campaign against corruption held in Abuja on Tuesday.
Mr. Osinbajo said: “We are firmly of the view that real progress is being achieved in the fight against corruption, and perception may indeed lag behind reality. But, as the saying goes, perception is sometimes stronger than reality, so we have to keep up the fight, until the full effect of our efforts can be clearly seen and perceived.
“This is an index that analyses the risks of financial exposure in countries. The question to be asked is what changed so dramatically between 2016 and 2017? As we speak the budget for 2018 is under public scrutiny at the National Assembly.
“The allocation and use of public funds is guided by the budget and represents one of the key areas of consultation and interaction by two arms of government – the Executive and the Legislature.
“Despite up to 60 per cent drop in revenue, we have, by stopping grand corruption, made the highest capital spending in the history of Nigeria, in the sum of N1.3 trillion in 2017. We are, for the first time, taking on the game-changing infrastructure projects
“As of September 2017, total support (excess crude account loan and Budget support facility) excluding Paris club refunds, is in the order of N876. 3 billion.
“If we add the Paris club refunds, we will have disbursed N1.91 trillion to states, outside of their regular monthly allocations”.
Mr. Osinbajo, who was represented by the Deputy Chief of Staff (DCOS) to the State House, Mr Ade Ipaye, called for harmony amongst the arms of government.
He added that strained relationship between the three arms of government has had effect on the pace of governance and development in the country.
He said: “In order to avoid these consequences and for a government to deliver development to the people, it is imperative for the three arms of government to constantly bury the hatchet and focus on collaborative efforts within their constitutional responsibilities to formulate and implement effective governance laws and policies.
“All three arms must be development focused in fulfillment of their roles and be ready to subsume personal interests to the overriding public good.
“As I understand it, this is what this dialogue is about, although it will focus particularly on two key areas, i.e., reform of the justice sector and the campaign against corruption,’’ he said.