Tuesday, 1 April 2014


DG BPS,Dr Joe Abah with Mr Gaji Barabas Baba, head of Corrupt, Monitoring and Evaluation ICPC at the inauguration. 

MONDAY 31st MARCH, 2014.

I am pleased to welcome you to the Bureau of Public Service Reforms. The Bureau’s mandate is to initiate, coordinate, monitor and communicate government reform policies to ensure that citizens receive effective and efficient public services.

I am particularly pleased to welcome you to this very important occasion of the inauguration of the Anti-corruption and Transparency Monitoring Unit (ACTU) of the Bureau.

Corruption lies at the heart of the underperformance of public sector organisations in many developing countries. Indeed, corruption thrives due to the unwillingness or inability of public sector organisations to fulfill the proper functions for which they were designed.

The important checks and balances that have been put in place to check against bureaucratic excesses are often bypassed by public servants some of who view their positions as opportunities for self enrichment. Members of the public are forced to pay bribes before they can receive the services that they should normally receive as a matter of course. Tollgates are set up to extort money from the public and even the pensions of former colleagues are embezzled. This constrains the ability of government to deliver public goods to citizens and results in other significant consequences.

The consequences of bureaucratic corruption are often not brought into sufficiently sharp focus. For the avoidance of doubt, corruption reduces the revenue available to government for national development. Resources that should be used to deliver water, hospitals, schools and roads to thousands of people are cornered by a handful.

Corruption lowers the incentives for private and foreign investment. It increases the cost of doing business and unnecessarily slows down the speed of development.

Corruption breeds inequality and unfairness in public service delivery and undermines merit, endeavor and enterprise. Hard work is no longer rewarded, distribution is no longer equitable and the predictability for which the public service is known is lost.

Finally, corruption erodes the moral fabric of society and has a long-term negative impact on future generations.

It is for all these reasons that the launch of the ACTU in BPSR is significant and important. Efforts at reducing corruption will greatly enhance the delivery of public services and make the job of the Bureau easier.

One of the most important ways of minimising corruption is to make public services more transparent. It is for this reason that the work of the ACTU must pay as much attention to improving transparency as it pays to reducing corruption.
BPSR anti-corruption initiative 

The Freedom of Information Act, 2011 is a very important tool in this regard and its coming into force on 28 May 2011 meant that Nigeria joined more than 90 countries worldwide that have similar legislation. The Act aims to provide freely available access to public records and information to the extent consistent with public interest and the protection of personal privacy. It also protects public servants from any adverse consequences of disclosing certain types of official information without authorization. This will hopefully start to erode the culture of secrecy that the public service developed during the military era and which is a convenient cover for corruption.

In compliance with the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act, BPSR has engaged in proactive disclosure.
DG, BPSR Dr Joe Abah with the newly inaugurated ACTU team members.

Information about the Bureau is readily available on our website www.bpsr.gov.ng . On that website, you will also see our organisational structure, our management staff and the precise functions of each department and unit.

You will also see copies of all our key publications, including our publication titled ‘Transforming Nigeria’ which captures all the reforms undertaken by the current administration in one place, our newsletters and magazines and our technical guidance notes.

We are currently in the process of uploading all the contracts awarded by the Bureau, including beneficiaries and contract values.

We are on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. You can also visit our blog for more instant information at http://bpsr-nigeria.blogspot.co.uk/.

In addition to information available on our websites, we also publish a lot of our information in hard copy for people who may not have access to the internet. Additionally, as Director General, I have set myself the target of treating all files within 24 hours and my staffs have similar targets. We have started to track our performance against these targets and during April, we will be able to report on how we are performing against this target.

I am pleased that six months into my assumption of office as Director General, we are able to inaugurate the ACTU team in BPSR. The composition of the team cuts across departments, professions and gender. Members were carefully selected on the basis of their track record of diligence, honour and integrity. I therefore wish to solicit the cooperation of ICPC to ensure that the ACTU team here receives as much support as possible.

We are particularly interested in the ICPC’s System Studies, which seeks to block loopholes in procedures that could encourage corruption, before they happen. This preventive system is perhaps more effective than relying on fear and deterrence alone.

Let me end by emphasizing our commitment to anticorruption and transparency in the public service.

A more transparent public service will be a less corrupt one and a less corrupt public service will be a better-performing public service.

It is on this note that I have the honour and privilege to inaugurate the Anticorruption and Transparency Monitoring Unit in the Bureau of Public Service Reforms.

Thank you.  

DG BPSR, Dr Joe Abah with members of the Anti-corruption and Transparency Monitoring Unit (ACTU) of the Bureau.

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