Corruption in Nigeria
The global anti corruption watchdog, Transparency International, recently released its 2017 corruption perception index. In the report, Nigeria was ranked 148th out of 180, the lowest of the countries ratings in recent times and lower than sub Saharan Africa’s average rating. Nigeria slipped 12 places according to the rating, dropping from 136th it held at in 2015 and 2016 to a shameful 148th in 2017.
The Nigerian government has however faulted the report claiming that the low ranking of the country on the latest Transparency International Corruption Perception Index is out of tune with concrete and verifiable achievements of present administration achievements in the anti graft war since it came into office in May 2015. The government insisted the report was based on fiction and not on facts.
The article examines the relationship between economic corruption in Nigeria and Pareto efficiency in economics.
One of the postulations of the Italian economist, sociologist and political scientists, Vilfredo Pareto who was also famous for the popular 80/20 principles, is the Pareto efficiency principle, according to him, If there is no way of improving the situation of one person, without making that of another person worse, the solution found is Pareto-efficient.
Pareto assumes that all resources in the economy (Land, Labour, Capital and Ideas) are fully employed in the production of economic goods and services and as such increase in economic activities can only result in reducing resources deployed to the production of one economic goods and increasing that which is deployed to another.
According to Pareto, this redistribution of resources will only be efficient if the new combination leads to a situation where at least one person is better off without making anyone worse off. The situation where at least one person is better off and at least one other person is worse off is not Pareto efficient.
Pareto efficiency principle has however been criticized for not looking at equitable distribution of resources and economic goods. The principle fails to look beyond the current state of resources allocation and whether efficiently distributed or not.
“…Just because something is Pareto efficient, it doesn’t mean it is fair or “equitable”. Even though no-one could be made better off without making someone else worse off, it is possible that one person owns all of the world’s things. To make anyone else better off, some would have to be taken away from this person, making them worse off.” Wikipedia
Majority of Nigerians reasons like Pareto, they failed to look the way of questionable wealth accumulated by super rich individuals but quick to demand on political leadership for efficiency in economic performance. We don’t believe questionable wealth should be returned to the state treasury for the production of common goods but wants common goods anyway.
We are quick to complain about liquidity squeeze in the economy because of TSA and Zero budgeting policies and failed to realize these policies are actually wealth redistribution policies if properly implemented.
If like Pareto, we believe that unexplainable wealth should be left unquestioned and beneficiaries of looted funds should not be made worse off but the government should ensure the economy functions efficiently then we will continue to slide down Transparency International Index.
We should eschew political, religious and ethnic sentiment and see the danger corruption in Nigeria has done to out collective reputation and future as a nation.
Unlike Pareto, let us focus our attention on the questionable wealth surrounding us and demand redistribution of such wealth for economic efficiency and progress. So our collective image can be ameliorated.
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