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I am a political scientist by training but at heart I am a change maker with an insatiable drive to correct the injustices that plague Nigeria.
 
 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Nigeria Government Aid... Needs Accountability

The president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, a...
The president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, at the Nuclear Security Summit, in 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article is a powerful illustration of yet another shortcoming that exists in President Goodluck Jonathan government of Nigeria. While I applaud the government for finding ways to attempt to provide support for those that are affected by tragedy, they are going about it in a very ineffective manner.

 

The first problem is that they are looking to provide financial support (Ref: http://www.channelstv.com/home/2013/04/25/jonathan-shares-n5-7-billion-to-victims-of-2011-post-election-violence/ ) for individuals who experienced tragedy during the  post-election violence of 2011, over two years ago. While I am sure these individuals can use the money now, why has it taken this long for the government to extend the aid?

 

Another significant flaw I see is the tracking of this aid. In Nigeria there is no public database that consistently accounts for individuals ( Ref: http://chiedufelix.blogspot.com/2011/06/national-crisis-nigeria-country-without.html ). I am referencing a system of social security numbers like are used in the US and other civilized countries. While I know there are flaws with respect to the social security number system, in the US, it is a fairly effective way of tracking the identities of individuals. It seems as though anyone can come forward and claim to be part of these tragedies in Nigeria. While this is reducing the amount of aid available to those who truly deserve it, it also invites dishonest people to cash in on the tragedies of others.

 

In the developed countries and the US there are federal protections that are put into place immediately for individuals that are victims of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, etc. These individuals receive monetary relief, housing assistance, mortgage protections, etc. The aid is able to be dispersed in a timely, organized manner that ensures that it “lands in the correct hands.”

 

Another disturbing part of this story is that Nigeria has to borrow substantial money with respect to infrastructure improvements. Why is the government not planning ahead? There should be money allotted for each area of the budget. The government shouldn’t have to borrow for certain items while paying for others. Who decides what to pay for? Are the funds guaranteed from one year to the next? Are there any planning and organizational efforts surrounding government spending and allocation or are these merely “fly by the seat of the pants ideas?”

 

I continue to worry about many of the problems that exist in Nigeria. The government spending seems to be up to the whim of the current administration. Where are the checks and balances? Who is regulating the spending? Who is monitoring the revenue? I believe that it is imperative that the citizens of Nigeria demand fiscal accountability for their country. 

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