Stop exaggerating, we’re not that corrupt – Tony Elumelu
Tony Elumelu, Chairman, Heirs Holdings Ltd., on Monday stressed the need for investors to report positive issues that would encourage doing business in the country.
Mr. Elumelu made the appeal at the Presidential Policy Dialogue at the 18th National Economic Summit in Abuja. He said that though corruption should be tackled in the system, it should not be the major focus of reporting issues concerning the country. “Without sounding a bit defensive, I think we tend to over bloat this issue of corruption in Nigeria and in fact, almost all the speakers who have spoken today are talking about corruption. “When the GSM licensing started in Nigeria, most strong telecommunications company didn’t want to come to Nigeria to do business because they were afraid of corruption. “MTN came to Nigeria to do business, they got the licence, the stock price crashed in South Africa Stock Exchange, they started five, six years down the line; Nigeria produces over 60 per cent of the GDP across the world. “But they don’t tell that story about Nigeria, the story you hear is about corruption,’’ he said. According to him, the company won one of the biggest power stations at 200 million dollars without consulting anybody but going by the process. He said that Nigeria was a country of over 170 million population and should not be projected in a bad light. “Yes some people are corrupt in Nigeria, a country of about 170 million people; we have one, two, or five per cent that are corrupt; we talk so much about corruption and every speaker wants to talk about it instead of saying the good things,’’ he added. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Coordinating Minister for the Economy, also said that a lot needed to be done to tackle leakages in the economy to generate revenue. She said that the Federal Government had given the Chief of Defence Staff a challenge to deal with issues of oil theft and bunkering. She said that during the ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, the level of leakage in oil theft was reduced from 150,000 barrel to 50,000 barrel a day. She said that Nigeria needed to elicit the help of the international communities to achieve this. She noted that through the Presidential Task Force on Subsidy, a good story could be told with the identification of dubious claims of about N232 billion.