• Friday, February 23, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

“Punish, shrink…,” Nigerians demand action on public mismanagement

“Punish, shrink…,” Nigerians demand action on public mismanagement

Recent revelations of misused funds highlight systemic issues in Nigeria’s public finance. Widespread misuse of public funds has eroded public trust, necessitating a comprehensive overhaul of existing systems.

BusinessDay’s January TalkExchange poll explores respondents’ opinions on key measures to combat fiscal mismanagement. Examining potential solutions, the poll offers insights into building a more accountable and responsible government.

Opinions from the open-ended question reflected a call for a “reduction in the number of political appointees”, emphasising the need for a leaner government structure. Additionally, there was a call “to punish financial crime offenders,” another respondent said, highlighting the importance of holding individuals accountable for their actions.

Read also: NGF launches public finance database to filter states’ fiscal data

The poll revealed a sharply divided opinion on the effectiveness of publicly naming and shaming individuals involved in the misuse of public funds. Nearly half (46.2%) strongly backed this measure, while an equally large group (46.2%) vehemently opposed it. Divided opinions on public shaming highlight the need for broader anti-corruption solutions.

The majority of respondents (69.2%) believe increased transparency and public oversight are crucial for rebuilding trust, signifying a burning desire for greater visibility into public fund management. Stricter regulations and penalties for misuse garnered significantly less support, with only 30.8% advocating for this approach, reflecting a preference for accountability through visibility rather than stricter punitive measures.

When asked about the top priority for responsible governance, opinions were diverse, with strong anti-corruption laws and enforcement leading the way (30.8% support). This highlights the significance of a legal framework holding individuals accountable for financial mismanagement.

Downsizing government travel sparked debate, with a significant minority (38.5%) strongly denouncing it as a symbolic gesture lacking impact, while over half (53.8%) expressed concern about its potential to hinder effective leadership. This highlights the need for solutions that not only symbolize fiscal responsibility but also demonstrably contribute to meaningful cost reductions.

Respondents suggested various cost-reduction measures, with 46.2% strongly suggesting smaller, targeted efficiency improvements and 30.8% advocating for optimizing administrative processes. This strongly suggests a clear preference for practical and strategic approaches to cut costs, potentially favoring immediate impact over broader system overhauls.