2016 budget won’t work if corruption is not tackled – Lai Mohammed
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has identified corruption as the major reason poverty is on the increase despite the steady growth in the amount budgeted for each year since 1999.
He then assured that there will be more money to go round once the vice is successfully tackled.
The minister disclosed this on Monday when he visited two Hausa-language newspapers based in Abuja in continuation of his ongoing consultation with key stakeholders in his ministry to support the campaign against corruption.
According to him, “If only we fight corruption successfully, there will be more money for everybody. If the leakages can be blocked successfully, I can assure you it won’t matter whether oil sells for $10 or $5, we will be able to run this country efficiently.
“If we don’t really take care of corruption, even the 2016 budget, we will not be able to operate because what we have found out is that it is these leakages (corruption) that are making the country to bleed. It is not by accident that between 1999 and today, the budget has been increasing every year yet poverty has also been increasing. Why? Because of corruption.
”In 1999, the entire budget was N947 billion, in 2016, it is N6 trillion. Has poverty gone down? It has increased almost by that margin. The issue of corruption must not be taken lightly. We must fight it as we fought Boko Haram, like we fought Ebola. We must fight it to a standstill,” he said.
Mohammed went on to debunk insinuations that President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war was an orchestrated vendetta against the main opposition party, insisting that it was a battle to pull Nigeria back from the brink and return the nation to the path of economic growth and sustainable development.
He attributed the decay in infrastructure, grinding poverty, stunted economic growth, widespread inequality, maternal mortality and other maladies afflicting the nation to corruption in governance which, he said, must be fought to a standstill for the country to achieve meaningful development.