BrandArena: Corruption is high on the corporate agenda in Nigeria, however rigorous implementation and enforcement are lacking - Survey

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Corruption is high on the corporate agenda in Nigeria, however rigorous implementation and enforcement are lacking - Survey

84% of companies with Nigerian headquarters responding to Control Risks’ annual survey “International Attitudes To Corruption” have formal policies in place that explicitly forbid bribes, almost closing the gap on the global average of 87%. This is one of a number of positive developments highlighted in the report, published on Monday by Control Risks, the global business risk consultancy.

However, the implementation and enforcement of anti-corruption programmes still lags behind many international firms:
Of companies with Nigerian headquarters:

-      Only 25% have a board director and/or a compliance committee with specific accountability for anti-corruption – half of the global average of 50% and significantly behind South Africa, with 64%

-      Only 34% have anti-corruption training in place for employees and only 16% have an additional training programme for senior executives and board members – only Indonesia (11%) and Colombia (9%) are further behind

-      Only 44% have a standard clause in agreements with sub-contractors forbidding the payment of bribes (global average 58%)

The survey also highlighted some positive news: One of the areas where Nigerian companies are much better prepared is in the handling of third-party risks. 65% of respondents rated the corruption risk with regard to third party advisors as high or very high and they acted on it: 56% of Nigerian companies have standard procedures in place for integrity due diligence on business partners.

Tom Griffin, Senior Managing Director, Control Risks West Africa adds: “We are certainly seeing a positive change in attitude and awareness towards corruption across the region; the Buhari administration will ensure this focus remains high on the agenda. 97% of Nigerian respondents ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ with the statement that international anti-corruption laws improve the business environment for everyone. Many of our clients value the fact that countries with the toughest laws and levels of international enforcement – the US, Germany and the UK – show a greater willingness to take risks and invest in countries with higher corruption risks, as they feel protected by the strong anti-corruption programmes they are required to implement.

“This approach from international investors is starting to be adopted by our Nigerian clients as well who recognise that demonstrating strong governance and compliance is a source of competitive advantage when seeking international investment, customers and partners. However, companies need to be aware of the potential gap between the perceived protection a compliance programme brings and its actual mitigating effect. Reliance on a tick-box approach to compliance can be dangerous. Most (51%) of global respondents in our survey have conducted no internal corruption investigations in the past two years, highlighting the danger of waiting passively for a whistle to be blown, and perhaps suggests a culture of complacency in some organisations.”

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