The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has called for a synergy between the government and the business community to prevent corruption from undermining Africa’s ability to attain 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 conference has “Tackling Corruption to Reduce Poverty and Unemployment in Africa: A Necessity for Building Resilience to Global Risks” as its theme.
Osinbajo stressed that the conference’s theme aligned with the three focus areas of the Buhari-administration, which were ensuring security, combating corruption and rebuilding the nation’s economy.
He reaffirmed the 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 economic, 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 as well as principles of state policies in the 1999 Constitution direct 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 recognised 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,” he said.
Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), said that efforts were underway to resuscitate the values of honesty and integrity so as to largely minimise cases of corruption in the country.
Owasanoye, represented by Mr Mohammed Baba, a Director in ICPC, said that some of the efforts included catching the youths at their formative years through the formation of anti-corruption clubs in secondary schools.
He also said that the national curriculum was also revised by infusing anti-corruption values such as 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 grassroots level.
“We have also established anti-corruption monitoring units in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and all these policies are yielding great dividends.
“We have been able to save for government about N146 billion from MDAs alone,” he said.
A competition to determine the winner of the ABEC ambassador challenge received 84 entries and had six finalists as part of the conference.
Oladipo Gabriel, Adedayo Olaku and Temitope Benjamin came 6th, 5th and 4th, respectively and received a cash prize of N200,000 each and an invitation to attend the boot camp to further develop their ideas.
On the other hand, Lateef Oseni, Chiamaka Ibe and Chukuemeka Osigwe came 3rd, 2nd and 1st positions, respectively and got a cash price of N400,000 each and an invitation to the boot camp to refine their ideas.