Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo has called for a review of the public procurement policies to promote business integrity, eliminate corrupt practices and drive national transformation.
Obasanjo made the call on Friday at the sixth Annual Christopher Kolade Lecture on Business Integrity in Lagos.
The lecture was organised by the Convention on Business Integrity Ltd., an anti-corruption, research and advocacy organisation concerned with issues of accountability and transparency in public and private sector.
Obasanjo said the country’s procurement process probably construed the largest source of leakage.
According to him, awards of contracts, supply, service contracts and others are usually loaded with provisions for bribes and kickbacks.
Obasanjo identified poor investment, poverty, infrastructure decay, institutional inefficiency and a wide range of socio-economic crisis as some of the negative consequences of corrupt practices and lack of integrity in public and private businesses.
He said: “As Africans, we need to look inward, we need value and reorientation that is anchored on our virtues of truthfulness, hospitality, respect, honesty, obedience and patriotism.
“And as a matter of urgent national emergency, Nigeria must re-invigorate efforts to reform public procurement policies, especially the Public Procurement Act which regulates public procurement and aim to minimise the abuse of processes, rules and standards in the awards and execution of public sector contracts.
“I will also recommend that we adopt a code of ethics in doing business in Nigeria and ensure a framework to make it work.
“Integrity is the foundation of leadership as there are no moral shortcuts in the game of business and life.
“We need integrity in the public and private business and it must start at the top. Organisations and public institutions must run their businesses in a forthright manner.
“Make integrity the heart and soul of your business culture.
“If the entrepreneur does not have integrity, others who walk with him or her will definitely falter and the society will also suffer for his self-centredness and misconduct.”
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