• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Nigeria loses $18 bn annually to financial crimes, corrupt procurement process- CSEA

financial crimes

…calls for enhanced skill gap to drive transparency, accountability

The Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA) has said that Nigeria loses at least N18 billion to financial crimes and corruption stemming from procurement processes in the country.

Adedeji Adeniran, the Director of Research at the CSEA disclosed this during a Stakeholders Dialogue on Public Procurement and Good Governance in Nigeria, held in Abuja on Thursday.

Read also:Fraud and corruption as pillars of Nigeria’s economic ecosystem

According to him, with public procurement accounting for a significant portion of Nigeria’s spendings, the need for proficient procurement professionals cannot be overstated.

Adeniran explained that the procurement sector has been plagued with challenges including inadequate training, outdated practices, and lack of specialized skills.

“The percentage of GDP that is spent on procurement in Nigeria varies over time, but it is estimated to range from 10-25%. Moreover, of the amount spent on procurement, the Anti-Corruption Agencies of Nigeria (comprising all agencies with mandates to investigate corruption and financial crimes) estimates that Nigeria loses $18 billion every year to corruption and financial crimes. This is a staggering estimate, amounting to 3.8% of Nigeria’s GDP in 2022, and it has severe and adverse implications for pro-poor growth and development,” he said.

Noting that an estimated 60% of corruption cases in Nigeria are from the procurement process, he advocated the need for stakeholders to prioritize initiatives aimed at enhancing the capabilities of procurement practitioners at both the federal and subnational levels.

Read also:CSOs, human rights lawyers warn EFCC boss over corruption allegation against Yahaya Bello

Adeniran also said that collaboration between government agencies, academic institutions, and international partners was key to developing tailored training programs that address the specific needs of procurement professionals.

“These programs aim to equip practitioners with the knowledge and skills necessary to uphold integrity, efficiency, and value for money in procurement processes.

“This includes assessing the technical and technological competencies required to navigate the complex landscape of procurement in Nigeria’s high-corruption environment.

“A behavioral insights lens can therefore be useful to explain why some anti-corruption measures succeed and why others fail or even have an adverse impact. Tools based on behavioral insights have been used to motivate behavioral changes in the public and private sector in many countries, and experiments based on behavioral insights have shown some potential in reducing bribery.

“Our project is therefore examining what kinds of behavioral tools are useful in addressing corruption in public procurement to determine how such tools may be designed and deployed in the Nigerian context.”

Speaking further, Adeniran noted that increasing women’s participation in public sector procurement can disrupt the corruption networks that manipulate procurement processes, thus improving systemic integrity and making procurement fairer.

Read also:Corruption Index: Nigeria’s rating improves, ranks 145

According to him, the Nigerian government has specified its intention to award 30% of public contracts to women-owned (or women-led) businesses by 2026, adding that much work remains to be done to address the barriers and obstacles to gender-responsive procurement.

“We will focus on the second strand of gender-responsive procurement and examine the measures toward the prioritization of women-owned businesses in public procurement and barriers to this prioritization.

“To the best of our knowledge, there has not been a comprehensive evaluation or assessment on the current state of data openness. This is important to assess the successes, gaps, areas of duplication, and any other shortcomings.

“Moreover, by conducting such an assessment and cataloging exercise, the project aims to provide a better understanding of the current state of access to and transparency of procurement data in Nigeria. This component also involves a review of open contracting portals at the federal and state levels, as well as interviews with relevant officials in the procurement regulatory system,” he said.