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“Why We Must Cut-Off Govt Incentives, Or Risk Failing” – Joe Abah Reveals



Panellists at an interactive session organised by the Policy Innovation Centre held on the sidelines of the ongoing Nigerian Economic Summit (NES28) have revealed some vital steps to take in the fight against corruption.

The Interactive session tagged ‘Harnessing Behavioural Insights to Counter Corruption’ was held at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, on Monday, November 14.

The session had panellists from diverse sectors ranging from civil societies, ant-graft agencies, the oil and gas sector, and a host of others. Speaking to regional reporter, the country director of DAI Nigeria, Dr Joe Abah, revealed that the quest to clamp down on corruption is gradual.

He stated that there is a need to cut off corruption incentives, especially in the political space and public service sector. Dr Abah said: “If you look at the political space, for instance, we run a winner takes all political system.

Access to corrupt resources is almost a perk of office. So if you remove those perks of office and make it clear that in public office you’re there to serve, you’re not there to acquire wealth, you’re not there to be richer than when you went in, then remove those incentives for people to be corrupt.

“Of course, if you also tackle the issue of money politics, then people don’t need to steal quite much to get into public office, which is yet another incentive for people to steal.”

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While also making a case for the remuneration of public servants, Dr Abah told that there is a need for the government to improve the living standard of the ordinary Nigerian.

He stated that there is a need to start paying people better wages, and not paying them good wages might likely resort in individuals finding it difficult to live by the rules. He said: “We need to pay people better, which means we need to eliminate those in the system who are not doing anything.

“So if we can rationalise the system and get rid of dead wood, then pay better quality people better money, then we’ll be more likely to constrain at least those corruption that happens out of need rather than out of greed.”

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