News / Africa

Nigeria Government Fighting Corporate Corruption

President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, June 8, 2011
President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, June 8, 2011

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan says fighting corruption is one of the driving goals of his new administration.

President Jonathan says the fight against corruption "must enlist the overwhelming force of Nigeria's collective determination" to ensure that the country's limited resources are best used for the common good.

As the president assembles his new cabinet, Nigeria's Securities and Exchange Commission is working with business leaders to enforce a revised Code of Corporate Governance to curb corruption and make Nigerian firms more competitive.

The commission's director general, Arunma Otteh, says that will attract more outside investment. "We believe that it is important from the individual company point of view, from a competitiveness point of view to be able to attract investors both local and international. They will have comfort when they know that the company is abiding by the best practice in terms of corporate governance. We also feel that it is a competitive tool for Nigeria as a whole, as we seek as a nation to improve the competitiveness of our country, and ensuring the flagship companies, companies listed on our exchange, are abiding by best practice for us is key," he said.

The managing directors of eight Nigerian banks were last year charged with fraud over illegal loans that threatened to collapse the banking sector and necessitated a $4 billion bailout by the Central Bank.

Otteh says the revised code holds corporate leaders responsible for their conduct. "The companies also have to declare the extent of their compliance to the code and that means there are liabilities for directors for misrepresentations. So in a sense while it is voluntary, there is a mechanism for us to reinforce good corporate governance practice. So it is actually the best of both worlds," he said. "Because when people own an initiative, they tend to take responsibility for that."

Attorney Michael Ellah says the breadth of corruption in Nigeria limits outside investment.

"Because of in many areas of this economy there is a lot of corruption as we all know, so we need to find a way to block this from the corporate culture," Ellah noted.

Harm Ploeger is the finance director for the West Africa branch of the British engineering and construction firm Costain. He says the cost of doing business in a corrupt economy far outweighs what companies will spend to demonstrate their compliance with the new code of conduct.

"[You] can not make the profits sustainably, which means over a large number of years if you do not have any form of corporate governance, I think in the end corporate governance rather keeps you in business than you must see it as a cost," Ploeger stated.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange is also working to reform trading and listing practices after a 60 percent drop in the main stock index between 2008 and 2009. Foreign investment on the exchange last year nearly doubled to more than $2 billion.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs