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Corruption risk factors: an analysis of public procurement in Nigeria

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  • N100 Business Studies

Abstract

Nigeria has consistently ranked 6th amongst oil-producing nations of the world but despite the enormous revenues from the sale of petroleum resources in the past five decades, the country has made little advance in terms of infrastructure, quality of life and the human development index. This has been attributed to endemic levels of corruption through misappropriation of public funds for private use, most of which have been associated with public procurement. The public procurement process in Nigeria has long been associated with corruption which involves misappropriation of public funds for private use. For example, the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index reports for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 indicate that much of public sector corruption in Nigeria is associated with the public procurement process. Between 2010 and 2012, Nigeria’s position on the corruption perception index of 183 countries surveyed by the TI, declined by 9 places to 143, an indication that current initiatives aimed at solving the problem have not been effective. Efforts at improving the practice of public procurement in Nigeria and developing it into a reputable profession cannot be successful without considering the more fundamental question of the factors that may have made corruption in the process resistant to efforts aimed at curbing it. It is this gap that this study hopes to address in order to promote transparency in the process of public procurement in Nigeria. A total of 20 semi-structured interviews were conducted across four organisations. Findings from the interviews were further subjected to verification discussions at two other organisations. Drawing from the case study analysis; greed, lack of inbuilt checks and wide discretionary powers of procurement officers under the direction of management emerged as possible risk factors motivating corruption in the public procurement process thus offering an explanation of the vulnerability of the process to corruption. Building upon the theoretical debates, public procurement-related corruption in Nigeria is contextualised in a framework which proposes a corruption risk-factor vulnerability check-list for the management of public procurement in Nigeria to achieve verifiable transparency and accountability.

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