Corporate Social Responsibility in Nigeria

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Nigeria is a developing country that is abundantly rich in many natural resources and as a result has a good number of multinational corporations ranging from oil companies, banks to consulting firms. Unfortunately, CSR is a concept that I personally believe the government has left to expectations, believing the multinational corporations would do what is ‘right’ by offering certain benefits to the society and the environment. As a result of this approach, Corporate and social responsibility has become a forgotten issue thus not playing a vital role in Nigeria as it does in some African countries and the developed world. Both the government and the corporations are happy to maintain that status quo and go on with business as usual. Although there is very minimal CSR in the country, the government constantly highlights and expects total transparency from all businesses. This is one of the principles of the United Nations Global Compact, which promotes ‘work against corruption in all its forms, including bribery and extortion’ . Paradoxically in a country where CSR is almost non-existent, the government constantly emphasise the importance of transparency even though everyone, the corporations included, operate with impunity. Most of the companies understand how the system works and how to get around the system due to the relentless corruption going on in the country and only use CSR or ‘promote’ transparency mostly as propaganda to promote the company’s image to a mostly illiterate population . Nigerians are very charitable and have a culture of ‘looking out for your brother’; the affluent people try to help out through charitable donations and other benevolent programmes in the community. Most of the companies get in on the programmes, make some donations especially to the influential elders and opinion leaders of the community and call that CSR.

However, there are still some companies that have been exemplary when it comes to social responsibility and one of...
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