The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has called for concerted efforts toward curbing corruption in the public service.
The Executive Director of NEPC, Dr Ezra Yakusak, made the call at the inauguration and induction of a seven-member newly reconstituted nominees of Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) of NEPC on Tuesday in Abuja.
While noting that corruption poses a serious development challenge in the society, Yakusak said that it threatened sustainable administrative and economic development.
According to him, this is by infringing or undermining formal processes, thereby, destabilising public confidence in government affairs.
“Meaningful progress and development can therefore, not be achieved if concerted efforts are not taken to curb the scourge of corruption in the public service,’’ he said.
The NEPC boss urged the reconstituted chairman and members of the NEPC-ACTU to conduct a corruption risk assessment by identifying vulnerable areas that were prone to corruption.
He also urged them to proffer appropriate recommendations and develop integrity plans that would strengthen accountability and transparency toward enhanced service delivery in the council.
Yakusak, however, assured the NEPC-ACTU of the support and cooperation of staff and management of NEPC in executing the task.
He pledged NEPC’s partnership with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Matters Commission (ICPC) in the fight against corruption.
On his part, the Chairman of ICPC, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, said that the event added drive to efforts of ICPC in promoting and entrenching values of integrity, accountability and transparency in government establishments.
Represented by the Director, Systems Study Review Department, ICPC, Mr Abia Udofia, Owasanoye said that the war against corruption demands concerted efforts to succeed.
“ The war against corruption by the Federal Government and anti-corruption agencies demands that all public institutions, public officers and managers of public funds are in unison to diminish and eliminate the scourge of corruption.
“The commission notes the efforts of the management of NEPC in constantly striving toward building right ethical standards and a culture of transparency within the council.
“This position is further confirmed by stakeholders’ testimonies gleaned from your website as well as the result of the 2021 deployment of the ICPC Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard.
“NEPC attained 3rd position with a substantial compliance score of 87% out of the 301 MDAS assessed with the scorecard.
“We are of the belief that the diligence of the ACTU in discharging duties, also contributed in the attainment of this enviable score and position,’’ he said.
The ICPC boss urged the management of NEPC not to relent in its support to ACTU to enable the unit to continue to assist the management in sustaining its posit legacy among other successful MDAs
“In supporting the Unit, management is encouraged to continue to provide a conducive environment for the Unit to function, provide funds and office accommodation.
“It is also to incorporate its members in various standing committees as provided for in the extant circular of government Ref No OHCSF/SPSO/CSTD/314/T2/61 dated Oct. 5, 2016
Owasanoye urged the ACTU members to ensure constant sensitisation of staff on the ills of corruption, implementation of code of ethics, examination of systems, processes and procedures of NEPC that were prone to corruption and proffer solutions.
“The functions of the Unit also includes monitoring projects, programmes and budget implementation of the council, coordinating the deployment of the ethics and integrity compliance scorecard and undertaking preliminary investigations into complaints or reports received among others,’’ he said.
Owasanoye further urged the newly appointed members to be industrious, above board, responsible and responsive in the exercise of their functions and avoid questionable acts.
“Given the strategic role you are expected to play, remember, he who comes to equity must come with clean hands,’’ he said.
The Chairman of the NEPC-ACTU, Mr Ganiyu Ahmid, the Director ICT Unit in NEPC, said they were ready to take up the responsibility and deliver the mandate according to the law.
“We are not taking the appointment for granted and the confidence reposed on us is something we have to pay back,’’ he said.
Ahmid solicited the support and cooperation of his colleagues in carrying out the task.