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‘The Funds Should Be Spent On Social Sectors’

Onigbinde-2--12-03-2016Seun Onigbinde is an Ashoka Fellow and Co-founder/Lead Partner of BudgIT, a civic startup that liberates budgets and public data from an inactive state into a more engaging format, mostly through infographics and interactive application with the aim of improving civic discussion and institutional reform. Onigbinde shares his views on how Government should spend the recovered funds and other issues with LAOLU ADEYEMI

HOW do you want government to spend the recovered funds?

Returned funds should be spent on social sectors as these sectors have faced the largest decline over the years. I mean health and education sectors need to be supported. If you look in the proposed 2016 budget that was presented, education and health did not get a great leap regarding funding despite the budget rising by over N1.6tn. We need to put funding into this and also think through supporting small business through a revamped Youwin scheme. Government can use a huge chunk of the funds to drive small and medium scale enterprises with an intention to strengthen the nation’s economy.

BudgIT is also of the view that more sophisticated equipment that enhance quick service delivery at various hospitals in Nigeria should be bought with the money and also improve on the nation’s health sector. To me, this will be the best use of the fund. We also need a multi-stakeholder approach to the management of recovered loot. This has to be backed by law. The multi- stakeholders meeting should include government, private sector, media, civil society and certain decisions as to how to channel the money into the appropriate sectors should be discussed.

The money should not be spent on frivolity but rather projects that will boost the nation’s economy.

Is there any other scientific way of preventing Public Office holders from looting government treasury aside the usual campaign against corruption?

Stopping corruption has to be systematic. There has to be rules and also punitive action to punish those who steal or waste public funds. However, the first lever to fight corruption is radical transparency, civic engagement on due process and also strengthening audit systems to uncover fraud. How many government contracts are published online? How many of them are effectively priced and competitively bidded for? We have not published the audit report since 1999. We have not punished anyone for abusing public trust through the indictment of the Auditor-General’s report. How can we then fight corruption without radical transparency and tough punitive actions? We need to bring things to the light and also stiff consequences melted out to those who flout rules.



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