President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said that corruption was the major factor responsible for the suffering of millions of Nigerians.
Buhari added that corruption at all levels was the biggest problem impeding Nigeria’s economic growth and development.
The president made the remark at the 49th Annual Accountant Conference organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in Abuja.
The theme of the conference was “Building Nigeria for Sustainable Growth and Development.’’
“I urge you now to always see corruption in its true colour as a gross violation of human right. Corruption is the major reason why millions of our people are in hardship, sick and helpless.
He said that it prevents good governance and encourage misappropriation of public funds, stiffens innovation, infrastructure development and investments.
Represented by Mr Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), the president said: “Our fight against corruption is, in reality, a struggle for nation-building and the future.
“Corruption and impunity become widespread when accountability is disregarded.
“Disrespect for accountability also strives when people get away with all manner of questionable things and accountants are unable to check them.
“Corruption is the major reason why many children cannot go to school, why we have few equipment and doctors in our hospitals.
“Corruption diverts public resources thereby causing much suffering, deprivation and unnecessary death in the country.
“Therefore, if we do not slay corruption with the passion it deserves, we will not get the result that we need.’’
Buhari reiterated that the government was committed toward achieving structural economic change and a more diversified and inclusive economy.
He said that it was for this reason that he had signed many executive orders aimed at improving the business conditions in the country.
“We signed the Executive Order 7 of 2019 on Road Infrastructure Development and Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit Scheme.
“This Executive Order aims to accelerate road infrastructure development for balanced economic growth in Nigeria by granting approvals to private sector entities to construct and rehabilitate eligible roads across the country.
“This is in exchange for tax credits which will be applied against their company income tax.
“The motivation for the scheme comes from the desire to take advantage of private-sector funding to road development in our country,’’ he said.
Also, the Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu called on Nigerians to join the fight against corruption.
Magu said the fight against corruption could not be won if it was left alone to the EFCC and other anti-graft agencies.
In his remark, the President of ICAN, Mr Nnamdi Okwuadigbo pledged the institute’s commitment to facilitating economic growth and development in the country.
“Now is the time to redeem our image in the committee of nations. We cannot afford to fail as the largest economy in Africa.
“As chartered accountants, we are at a vantage position to determine the effective use of public funds and we charge you to be front runners in the fight against corruption,” he said.