Impact of Corruption on Nigeria's economy
By John Daniel - Published February 10th 2017

The Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary defined corruption as a dishonest or wicked behaviour. The World Bank described it as the abuse of public office for private gain.

Corruption is perceived across a variety of illegitimate disbursements and transactions such as bribes, embezzlement, and money laundering among others. It's the dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery. Corruption is the giving of a bribe to an official so that the truth will not be told. It involves the misappropriation of public fund for personal use and any act which is well-thought-out to be criminal act according to the laws of a particular society.

The word ‘corruption’ is being chorused in Nigeria by everybody in all circles of human exertion. Corruption has its monstrous effect in anywhere there is the prospect of societal activities. Ironically, it is found in places where it ought not to be. It is there in our homes where some house wives tend to outsmart their husbands.

It is found in the churches where righteousness should govern actions of the congregations and members of the clergy. In the market places, it appears corruption is a tool for measuring demand and supply. In Government establishments, doors of offices are wide open for perpetrating corruption.

Corruption is Nigeria's biggest challenge. It is clear to every citizen that the level of corruption in the country is unbearable. It's found in every sector of the nation’s economy. Be it a sensitive or a less sensitive sector, there is every likelihood of observing traces of corrupt practices when critically examined. Corruption is a powerful cancer that has irredeemably eaten this country to a state of limpness. Corruption can be considered as old as Nigeria, and isentirely a complex problem which counteracts the positiveimpact of public investments, health care services, policies and outcomes. At the level of individuals and households in this country, there exists growing evidence of the deleterious effects of corruption in the welfare of Nigerians. The 2006 report of Transparency International affirms that the corruption level emasculates the attainment of the Millennium Development Goal MDGs and that corruption is one of the prime causes of the fact that the global community is by now off target to reach the MDGs.

Corruption, like laziness which begins in a cobweb and ends in a thick iron chain has obsessed the Nigerian state that amnesty was seen as a viable option which was counterproductive because each zone of the federation seem to participate in this policy of making peace in the falsehood of spending our hard earned resources outrageously. This action makes those involved to be silent or passive in a while, like the bed bug, and become more offensive when the toxic effect fades away. There is always the likelihood that Nigerian youths who are not benefiting from this will form themselves to some groups andthat will not help to bring peace but insecurity. In the Northern part of the country, politically disadvantaged individuals have introduced the Boko Haram which is hopelessly bringing down the economic strength andhuman capital of the affected states. At the political level, corruption has been circularlyprevailing that it will take vast amount of time, intellect and commitment to reduce to a bearable level. Even with the above, the probability of rescuing this nation from the clutching fists of corruption remains very slim.

The growth of corruption in Nigeria is outrageously rapid and exerts exponential but adverse effect in the country. For every act of corruption, there seems to be scores of other corrupt acts that emerges just in a ripples effect. This is because the Nigerian social and political structure presentsa viable hotbed for it to thrive. Ironically, almost all attempts to stamp out corruption from this country has resulted in a multiplicity of questionable practices which in turn sabotages these attempts. Frankly speaking, since 1960, Nigeria has enacted much of anti-corruption laws and raised many anti-corruption agencies and institutions which have dovetailed to an unfair legal system because of the duplications in handling corruption matters.

Corruption has a devastating impact, which has more effect on poorer families and tender firms with a long run of negative impact on growth, especially through reduction in human capital development and investment. And the damage that corruption does is widely witnessed across the economy. It is connected todisgraceful public finance management which leads to an increase in barriers to doing business and consequent small scale businesses. Government effectiveness is also damaged as talents in public institutions are eroded. Generally, corruption is interconnected with lower standards of living, education levels and greater income inequality.

To start with, corruption in all its ramifications has promoted poverty in Nigeria. A simple example could be made with the corruption in the management and disbursement of pension funds in Nigeria. The diversion of these funds means that retired Nigerian workers would not have access to their pensions as at when due. It also means thatdependent relativesto these pensioners would be deprived of the needed funds to afford quality education and healthcare, not to talk about feeding themselves. Some pensioners have eventually died because of the growing expectations that often end in frustrations, sometimes caused by standing for long hours onlengthy queues. Nepotism and favoritism which are forms of corruption are deeply responsible for the inefficiency we see in many offices as less qualified candidates are given employment over the competent ones. These ‘favoured’ ones contribute nothing to the economy and hence are counterproductive in any system they find themselves.

Another glaring consequence of corruption is that it creates the condition for political instability. This is because unabated corruption makes the state an unlimited distributor of wealth to individuals and groups. This character of the state gives rise to the politics of do-or-die, with politicians struggling to out-smart one another, sometimes in violent manner. It must be recalled that the various military regimes that hijacked democratically elected governments of the people had always justified their actions on the ground of grand corruption and embezzlement of state treasury by the political officials. Ironically, these military regimes has not gotten it right either. This unlimited cash flow in the hands of a microscopic few as against millions of people reduces the GDP of the country and has reduced the amount of money needed for development for a better economy.

Similarly, corruption contributes to the very low level of education in the country. The nation’s educational system has continually produced half-baked graduates. In their selfish quest for salary restructuring and other questionable reasons,different academic bodies have lured our tertiary institutions into incessant strike actions only to rush and many times skip some curriculum content when the strike action is eventually suspended. We end up producing graduates that are incapable of contributing to the economy and development of the nation.

Furthermore, corruption in Nigeria promotes the existence of underground economy. The possibility of bribes penetrating the security systems have made it easy for these underground or illegal businesses to thrive, especially drugs. Though these underground economies amount to billions of dollars, the government do not profit from taxes nor are the people gaining from the dangerous effects of these adulterated products.

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