There could be a better way to retrieve looted monies. Instead of threatening looters, the government should convince them to invest the stolen money in Nigeria.
That’s according to director-general of the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS), Ladi Hamalai.
“There are countries that are more corrupt than Nigeria but the leaders and followers of such countries retraced their steps by developing a sense of loyalty to their nationhood and determining to improve on capacity building, they turned their countries around,” she argued.
She was delivering keynote address on ‘Critical success factors in the implementation of the post-2015 Development Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria’ at the training workshop organized by NILS in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for National Assembly committee clerks.
“The government of developed Asian countries like Korea, Singapore and China introduced good governance and it was embraced by the people. They started by growing their institutions and they were all committed to national building through enhanced capacity building.
"In 1960, when Park Hee of South Korea came into power, he started by investigating to know where stolen monies which belong to the country were hidden and immediately addressed a meeting, promising to forgive those who swindled government’s money if they use it to invest in the country. He told all the looters that instead of keeping the monies abroad to develop other people’s country, ‘Why not use it to start the industrialization of Korea’? Park then informed them that he has plans and blueprint to develop the country and that all they needed to do was to invest the looted money in the country.
"They were as well encouraged by granting them soft loans with zero interest. He further suggested that they could purchase machines and machineries with the loot as far as they bring them into the country to invest and export the finished goods out of the country while he advised them to shun corruption. That is the best way to grant amnesty to corrupt individuals. I think that is the easiest way of getting looted money back,” she said while she stressed the need for individual commitment to national industrial revolution.
Speaking on attainment of the SDGs, she stated that the first critical factor in successful implementation of the goals is developing Nigeria’s priorities, stressing that giving the dwindling resources rising largely from decline in oil process and lingering threat to economic recession, Nigeria must define its priorities.
The second critical factor in attainment of SDGs according to her is policy coherence, which she said is a process for integrating the multiple dimensions of development at all stages of policy making.
“To meet the challenge of achieving the SDGs, governments need to enhance their capacities to exploit synergies across different policy areas with important cross-border dimensions, such as trade, investments, health, education, environment, migration and development co-operation to create environments conducive to development," she said.
The Professor also stressed the need to strengthen public accountability and good governance which includes the capacity of the government to effectively formulate and implement sound policies. This she said cannot be achieved without controlling corruption.
Earlier in his opening remark, the Country Director of UNDP, Mr. Samuel Bwalya said the training specifically meant for committee clerks on SDGs would go a long way in fostering a sense of national ownership and collective action in transmitting SDGs into enforceable national laws.
“SDGs need to be country-specific in order to address Nigeria’s development challenges. Therefore, constant oversight, public hearing, monitoring and evaluation of SDGs implementation are critical for its success as there can be no meaningful development without an environment that promote good governance, democracy, vibrant civil societies and enlightened citizens,” he added.