CORRUPTION IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR AND SERVICE DELIVERY
A Paper presentation
ROUNDTABLE ON REVIEW OF GOVERNANCE INDEX AND SECURITY IN NIGERIA
THE NATIONAL DEFENCE COLLEGE, NIGERIA
22ND MAY, 2013
The Public Sector in Nigeria is charged with the responsibility of providing goods and services, otherwise referred to as “public goods” in economics, to the public vis-à-vis the mandate of the ruling government and its administrative system. It is expected by the public, of the government, and through the public sector to judiciously harness the nation’s economic resources for the benefit of the public and the development of their communities particularly, and the nation ultimately. The government through the public sector is therefore assessed based on its propensity to proffer quality service delivery and so it becomes imperative for the public sector to emphasize on service delivery as an integral component of its obligations. Despite the invested efforts geared towards improved service delivery, such interventions have either been frustrated or met with brick walls as a result transparency and accountability deficiencies among others, culminating in the systemic corruption that saturates the public sector. While it is pertinent to note that there is multi-level corruption in the private sector exclusively in relationship to government deals, this paper examines corruption as a major impediment to effective service delivery in the Nigerian Pubic Sector, and its attendant consequences on development. This paper argues that effective service delivery is founded on the need to have an efficient and responsive public sector that has the aptitude to meet the challenges staged by the domestic and external environments. It further posits that for the public sector in Nigeria to realize the objective of improved and rather commendable delivery of its services, public officers must exude the values of integrity, professionalism, discipline, and perseverance especially in the face of the systemic rot instigated by corruption.
In light of the foregoing, it is germane that we clarify some basic concepts such as corruption, and the public sector. CORRUPTION: Similar to many other complex phenomena, corruption can hardly be defined in concrete and concise terms. The World Bank defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gains. Corruption also refers to efforts to secure wealth or power through illegal means for private gain and at public expense; or a misuse of public power for private benefit (Abiodun Elijah Obayelu: Effects of Corruption and Economic Reforms on Economic Growth and Development; Lessons from Nigeria for 2007 African Economic Conference). Various definitions present dissimilar facets of the concept and together, enrich the concept. Corruption according to Khan is an act which deviates from the formal rules of conduct governing the actions of someone in position of public authority because of private motives such as wealth, power, or status. Corruption is the perversion of integrity or state of affairs through bribery, unjustifiable favour or moral depravity. In other words, corruption is a systemic vice in an individual, society or a nation which reflects favouritism, nepotism, tribalism, sectionalism, undue enrichment, amassing of wealth, abuse of office, power, position, and derivation of undue gains and benefits. It ranges from petty corruption to political/bureaucratic corruption to systemic corruption (International Centre for Economic Growth, 1999). Corruption remains a long-term major political and economic challenge for Nigeria (Sachs, 2007). It is a cankerworm that has eaten deep in the fabric of the country and has stunted growth in all sectors (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, 2005). PUBLIC SECTOR: The word “public” means the people of the nation. The public sector is...
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