The Managing Director, Green Gold Energy International. Mr. Ofor Aligwekwe, on Tuesday, revealed that the issue of corruption which has beleaguered the nation for years is the major setback of the Nigerian economy, adding that the growth of Nigeria cannot be adequately addressed without addressing it.
Aligwekwe, who made the statement during an interview on The Money Show on African Independent Television (AIT), lamented that most people are beginning to accept corruption as a cultural practice.
He, therefore, advised that the fight against corruption should not be for the government alone, but every institution and individual must brace up to be a part of it.
He said, “There is no way you can address Nigeria’s growth without addressing the issue of corruption. It’s not about policies you design and put in a lot of money. As far as you don’t block the loopholes for wastage, fraud and mismanagement, then we are not going to achieve anything.
“The problem we have had over the years is that we have not been able to build and develop our country. People are talking about the price of dollar, oil etc, but what did we do when the oil was different, what did we do 5 years ago, 8 years ago, 12 years ago, what did we achieve, what did we build?”
Speaking on the missing budget, Aligwekwe who is also a seasoned economic analyst said, “All the things we are hearing concerning the budget being analyzed, modified, updated, shows there is continuous effort to improve on whatever is in place and I think that is a positive thing. A step in the right direction.
When asked if he was bothered after hearing about the allegedly missing budget, he responded by saying, “No that’s for people that want to play the whole thing.
“First of all, you cannot have a situation where you say the budget is missing. It’s not a physical item that once its created, it becomes one single item that when its handed over, someone can steal it.
“It is something created out of knowledge and is a document that contains information so what can miss is the copy of it. I wasn’t really concerned about it.
“It only shows concerns of how we manage our government documents, documents retention, domestic security, and right to access and process document,” he said.
“But if it’s a classified document, is it possible to keep it where it will suddenly disappear?” he asked.
Aligwekwe who stated that managing Nigeria economy requires a lot of efforts, added that some of the challenges of the past has to do with integrity, discipline, corruption, accountability.
He however, noted that obvious steps are being taken by the government to ensure that the economy is improved upon.
“So when you are talking about accountability, I think TSA is a bold step to give government visibility to the money they have.”
He further described the reports of the 55 top officials in government and private establishments who allegedly looted N1.34 trillion in a period of seven years which flooded the media as a “demonstration that the government and its institutions are listening to people and understand that Nigerians want to be carried along in the efforts to address corruption.
“The corruption fight is not something the government can do alone, corruption has so permeated the society that they have to keep talking about it. The fact that they are talking about it does not mean that they want to catch people that did corruption in the past. They also want to sensitize people and ensure that corruption is stopped or minimized in the present government that’s why they keep talking about it,” he added.
He, therefore, appealed to the government to balance the focus and transition of manufacturing economy, balance the need to be able to dig out stolen funds and must work towards sustaining small and medium scale businesses in the country.