The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Tuesday said corruption persisted in the country because Nigeria lacked the institutions, systems and processes to prevent it.
Speaking in Abuja, at the Catholic Caritas Foundation Forum, Okonjo-Iweala made this known when she spoke on the Topic: `Preventing Leakages in the Nigerian Economy` in Abuja.
According to her, the absence of the relevant systems and institutions that will help check corruption has created opportunities for people to engage in the act.
“This thing has been with us and we must crack it. This is not something that started in this country today; but it is something that we must crack.
“Fundamentally, we have to ask ourselves, why has this continued to be a problem; I am convinced that it is because we constantly look at the symptoms and not the cause of the disease.
“The cause of the disease is we don’t have in place the institutions, the systems and the processes to block and prevent it in the first place.
“That’s the only difference between us and the people abroad,” she said.
The minister asserted that people would be compelled to do the right thing always if the appropriate systems were in place to block and prevent corruption.
She urged youths in the country to ask the relevant questions that would help tackle corruption in the country.
“This is so important now because of technology and I am a total fan of the use of technology and electronic platforms to block the leakages in this country.
“We must use them the way they are being used in other countries.”
Okonjo-Iweala said the use of such technology has helped the Federal Government in many ways. According to her, the introduction of the Government Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMS) had helped to reduce physical movement of cash to make payments and curb corruption. The Integrated Personnel Payment System had helped government to remove ghost workers from the system and save money in the process.
“We have been able to weed out about 62,893 ghost workers till date saving N208.7 billion and we have not finished in the system. That is addressing the root cause,” the minister said.