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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Economics of Whistle Blowing: what next for Buhari!

      Because of the recent importance professional economics attached to corruption related matters, there is today a large body of literature on economics of corruption where corruption is rigorously study and analyzed. There is current change in academic scholarship from the era when economists saw corruption as a research topic for scholars of sociology and political sciences, to now when corruption is seen as very important in understanding the economics of developing countries of the world. There is no way one can understand economies such as that of Nigeria without delving into matters related to corruption. Here in Nigeria the most talk about issue is the new Whistle-blowing policy of President Buhari, the rate at which corrupt government officials are being exposed on daily basis, more especially the amount of money being discovered is alarming. Since coming to  office in 2015 President Buhari has made fighting of corruption the epicenter of his government activities. According to some government sources, Billions of Naira of stolen government fund have been recovered. But, of more immediate impact on people understanding of this government war against corruption is the whistle-blower policy which empower citizens to report any case of corruption to secrete phone numbers operated by the federal ministry of finance, from where government official will take the case and investigate. The new campaign has help in making government efforts to close leakages in its sources of revenue and ensure financial discipline. In just about four month of the start of the policy over 80 billions Naira of stolen money has been found due to the policy.


      There is wide spread believe that effective anti corruption war spur economic growth. The fight against graft in China, south Korea, Taiwan and Chile was instrumental in their economic successes. Nigerian government need to engage with its business community as they are very important in the present arrangements. It is a known fact that our business men have in the past collaborated with corrupt public officials to launder stolen money. Foreign investors are another important source of corruption, where they spread the ill practice from one country to another with the expertise of some one who has been in the business for a long time. But, government must be careful and very intelligent in it fight so as not to scare away foreign investors from coming into the country as this will have an adverse effect on economic growth. For example, according to some analysts poorly executed war on corruption in China has caused the country lost of about 1.5% of gross domestic product (GDP). Here in Nigeria, the epicenter of corruption (in the entire system) is the public service where enriching one self from government funds is seen as the norm. How much Buhari war against corruption is  contributing towards pulling Nigeria out of recession is not yet made public by federal government. But, figures from IMF and Nigerian Bureau of statistics show the economy is moving away from recession gradually.


      Considering the devastating impact corruption has on Nigerian economy, it is high time for Nigerian universities to introduce courses on Economics of corruption. This will help students of Economics, Business Management, Finance, and Accounting to know more about corruption. I can give an example here of what happened in the United States after the collapse of the Energy giant Enron, some business schools immediately started running courses on corruption related matters including students' visits to prisons in order to highlight to them the consequences of their future actions or in action. Finally, to make the current successes being recorded by President Buhari anti-corruption efforts sustainable, government must introduce an effective Whistle-blower protection framework. This will go along way in encouraging other people to come out and tells the true concerning the whereabouts of looted government funds. Buhari's government shall rise up to the expectation and expose all past leaders who contribute in installing Nigeria's corruption culture as well as put things in place to cleanse our national assembly off rotten members in order to pave way for effective legislation against corruption. Someone has described the two chambers of the national assembly as 'chambers of corruption'. But, whatever policy Buhari put in place it shall be done carefully and intelligently, i will suggest that people shall be encourage to vote-out the present governors, corrupt senators and members of house of assembly.