Cultivating A Culture Of Gratitude As Panacea To Corruption

Cultivating A Culture Of Gratitude As Panacea To Corruption
Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi
By Kenneth Jukpor
Giving bribes for contracts, tax evasion, fraudulent accounting, and embezzlement of money, misleading marketing, poor work environment and safety standards, and maltreatment of employees and poor salary; have become the norm in many organizations in Nigeria, especially in public institutions.

Dishonest business practices in Nigeria people say, is due to harsh economic environment where useful infrastructure is lacking leading to a widespread culture of corruption in the private and public sectors of the economy, a problem President Mohammadu Buhari has overtly vowed to tackle, how successful this has been remains an issue for another discourse.

Nigeria’s maritime sector is one that has several challenges which continue to mitigate against the growth of the sector. According to the 2017 World Bank Ease of Doing Business Survey, Nigeria ranked 169 out of 192 countries. Similarly, the vital indices of electricity supply and paying taxes show that it ranked 180 and 182 respectively.

Whilst bribery is seen as the bane of doing business in Nigeria, according to the World Bank there are twelve most common dishonest business practices in Nigeria that is killing the nation’s economy.

They include: Tax Evasion, Creative Accounting, Embezzlement of Money, Misleading Marketing, Poor Work Environment and Safety Standards, Maltreatment of Employees and Poor Salary, Producing Substandard Goods, Wrong and Overcharges to Customers Accounts, Over Invoice, Breaking the Law by making False Returns to Regulatory Authorities, Delays in Making Returns to Regulatory Authorities and Giving Bribes for Contracts.

Nigeria’s economy can grow when she changes the negative business practices that are pervasive in the land, she will receive positive ratings from world bodies and most importantly, the nation’s economy would observe a massive boost.

It is this optimistic picture that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council has chosen to celebrate in a maritime sector that has myriad of challenges that bother on corruption, greed, exploitation of customers, breaking the law, making false returns to regulatory authorities and delays in submitting returns to regulatory authorities. One agency that has always been at loggerheads with various stakeholders over these issues is the Shippers’ Council, yet it has resolved to felicitate with its stakeholders annually via the Shippers’ Council Stakeholders Appreciation Night.

Speaking at the ceremony recently, the Executive Secretary of the Shippers’ Council Barr. Hassan Bello said, “the Nigerian Shippers’ Council has collaborated and walked with an array of stakeholders; various service providers including cargo owners, surveyors, ship owners, terminal operators, shipping companies, freight forwarders, chandlers, etc.”

“The Council has the vintage position of making the industry balanced and today, as we have done in the last two years, we are bringing all players together to not only celebrate them but also ensure that we can work together towards making the industry better. We are looking for the equilibrium and balance that is needed. We have to create a level playing field and we hope that such interaction as we have tonight is what is needed to achieve this synergy that is crucial to the port system”, He added.

Bello also urged stakeholders to always see the Council as an impartial umpire keen to balance the various interests of stakeholders in the port sector.

On her part, the Chairperson, Ship Owners Forum, Barr. (Mrs.) Margaret Orakwusi commended the Shippers’ Council for the initiative even as she noted that it was another platform for the industry stakeholders to discuss on the major problem such as the state of the port access roads.

“Some people deal with perishable items and business people knows that time means money. A lot of challenges affect the business folk in the nation’s port sector. Some of these challenges within their control but some others are not. The problem of the access road to Apapa for instance is beyond the average businessmen.

“Nigeria’s population isn’t what it used to be several years ago when these ports were created. Hence, the need for new deep seaports and new road infrastructure. This is one of the biggest issue in the sector and all hands must be on deck as we work together to tackle the problem” Orakwusi said.

Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of Federal Government, the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi pledged support to private investors in Transport sector.

“We at the Federal Ministry of Transportation, see the organization and sustenance of this Appreciation Night every year as a positive initiative by Nigerian Shippers’ Council, the ports sector Economic Regulator, to demonstrate their style of regulation rooted in continuous industry stakeholder engagement not only on serious official matters but also at social level” the Minister said.

The Minister who was represented by the Director of Maritime Services at the Ministry, Alhaji Sanni Dalaganchi, commended the high level attendance from across all segments of the industry; explaining that it was a testimony of the high level of mutual respect and confidence between the Council and the stakeholders.

“The private sector should on their part responsibly engage Government through its agencies to bring to the notice of Government their complaints and new ideas towards developing the sector along international best practices. I urge all stakeholders to support such efforts towards maintaining cordial and mutually beneficial relationship in the overall interest of the economic development of the nation” he added.

Perhaps, Nigeria can take a cue from Shippers’ Council’s strategy of appreciation and gratitude. The act of corruption is Satanic and is energized by the spirits of pride, ingratitude and covetousness. Pride is unreasonable and inordinate self esteem, personified as one of the deadly sins. It seeks unjust, illegal and godless exaltation, while ingratitude speaks of lack of appreciation or discontentment with who we are or what we have.

Gratitude, on the other hand, “is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others” according to Marcus Tullius Cicero and Nigeria’s economy, governance and all other aspects could take a positive turn if we change our core values from the corrupt tendencies to gratitude, honesty and altruism.


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