Monday, November 05, 2012

Corruption an African Syndrome?

On the 31st of October 2012 I made my first visit to Benin Republic by road via Seme border. I will like to share my experience with you. Road Network I noticed that the road that leads from Nigeria to Benin is in a state of disrepair. I was shocked that a road connecting an international boundary could be in such a condition. In fact, at the crossing itself the road was not only un-tarred it could easily have passed for a road in a village in Nigeria. However, I noted with delight that the road between Seme Border and Port Novo was quite good. It even had a portion for motorcycles. Most of the bike riders also used helmets. Immigration services When I got to the border, I was given the option of entering via bush path (which appears to be the norm or going via the official route). I insisted I was going to do the right thing. I had been briefed earlier about the how much I was to pay to the Nigerian Immigrations (N500) and the Benin Immigrations (N500) and also to pay (N1000) for the Yellow card. At the border I met a tout (not again) who attempted to “assist” me and also promised to get things done faster and at half the “official costs”. I declined and went to meet the immigration officers who were in uniform. As usual the “Naija” guys were friendly and I paid 500Naira at 2 different desks. I was not given any receipt neither was the payment recorded in a book or on a system. There was no way I could determine legally how much I was to pay. I was also not sure if the money will be remitted to the Federal Government. I wonder why we still encourage corruption by allowing poor systems. Benin Republic End The female immigration official was less friendly and helpful but also collected N500 which no receipt was issued to me. Then 3 men (who were not in uniform and sitting beside the Immigration kioks) who claimed to be representing Police, State Security Service and Customs asked me to pay N 1200. This was a payment I was not informed about earlier and insisted I was not going to pay as it was not in my budget. They tried to explain to me that I was paying it because I am a 1st timer and it is a one-off payment. After about 30 minutes delay I was asked to pay N500 (also without receipt). Moving into the town we meet with about 4 check points manned by men in civilian outfits. They all asked for N500 each but I ended up giving N100 at 2 check points and refused to pay at the other 2. For once, I almost thought I was still in Nigeria. Yet Police in uniform were looking from a distance. Is corruption a citizen of west Africa? (To be continued)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Taking the Bull by the Horn: Habits of a great Students

A country without infrastructure is called under developed. A student without a reading timetable is without infrastructure. Are you better than your country?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Women Business Empowerment Seminar

Join Oluyemi Adeosun as he speaks at a women empowerment seminar on “TAKING YOUR BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL”. Theme Profitable Hands Venue: RCCG Living Faith Parish, No2a, Michael Akintola Street, Onipetesi Estate, Mangoro, Agege. Time: 9am Saturday, 13th October 2012 Looking forward to seeing you there

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Systems or Miracles

 Join Oluyemi Adeosun as he speaks on Systems or Miracles  Venue: Food of the Sun Hall, Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.  Time: 10am  Date: Saturday, 8th September 2012  Looking forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Making Corruption Unattractive

People generally have the capacity to be good or bad, honest or dishonest based on environmental factors. Very often Nigerians who a few hours ago were orderly and stayed on a queue at London Heathrow airport shunt queue at the Muritala Muhammad Airport in Lagos. What is the difference? Laws and much more importantly Law Enforcement. Corruption, Bribery, Looting, etc is common both in Public and Private sector. In the private sector, officials who handle procurement approval at certain levels sometimes ask for gratification. They can ask you to mark-up the cost to build in their interest or even drop something upfront. These practices end up increasing cost of goods and services. Well, I am more concerned with Public Institutions, which we seldom have limited options and cannot circumvent their services. Take a look at drivers’ license, certificate of occupancy, tax clearance etc. One thing you will notice at the typical drivers’ license office is the unprecedented crowd. To follow through the process yourself you may need to take few days/weeks off work. The first thing that encourages corruption is shortage of service points or officials to handle the processes required to get things done efficiently and effectively. Another factor is ambiguity. For example a Local Government Official can write to a company with a Mast to pay 5 Million Naira knowing fully well that they will call him to negotiate. After such negotiation they can end up paying N500, 000 as official fee and then another N500,000 as bribe. Refusal to cooperate will lead to payment of 5 Million naira. I suggest the following solutions to minimize bribery in the country: • Service Level Agreement (SLA) must be published. We must know turnaround time for each process and activity. There should also be punishment for officials who fall short of such parameters. • Compensation of civil servants must be tied to performance which is benchmarked based on quantitative and qualitative parameters. • Tracking Online Processing: just like we can track progress of shipment by DHL we should embrace technology to ensure customers can track their request. • CCTV should be put in public offices to ensure that bribes cannot be given across the counter. • Officials should also be transferred from time to time to prevent anyone from becoming a cabal • Pricing of services and metrics should be online and payment done strictly at the bank or electronically. We should know how much you pay per square meter of land and what constitute commercial or residential. • Online processing • Reduce layer of interface • Make costing and metrics public • Transparent rules of engagement in procurement, bidding, expression of Interest, sales and acquisition of public properties • Make publicly available and accessible reporting Line to escalate delays to higher authorities • 24/7 Customer Service points for public complaints and resolution • Incentives based on quantity/quality achieved which must be published • Specific requirements that qualify or disqualify must be stated and published