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

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

Report: US to Sail Warships Near Disputed S. China Sea Islands

Move will signal nonrecognition of Chinese territorial claims over area, Financial Times reports, citing senior US official More

Study Describes Ancient Deltas, Lakes on Mars

Research builds on recent NASA announcement that water flows on red planet today More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs