According to Transparency International’s Bribe Payers Index, Russian businesses are among the quickest to offer bribes in promoting their interests abroad. Russian executives seek out partnership where bribery and corruption are the norm, said Yelena Panfilova, director of Transparency International in Russia. They have come to the conclusion that since they were so successful with those methods at home, they will be equally successful with the same methods abroad,” she said.
This year’s Bribe Payer’s Index, which was compiled from information submitted by more than 11,000 executives worldwide, found that two global anti-corruption initiatives – the United Nations Convention – have not been effective enough. Unsettling levels of bribery persist, the study reported, even among business executives from leading western nations.
“The ‘good’ are not so good” ran the headline for one article on the study, which singled out the United States as a nation that has strong anti-corruption laws but does little to enforce them abroad for its own selfish interests.
But India, China and Russia, with scores of 4.62, 4.94 and 5.16 respectively – out of 10 highest – took the three lowest spots in the survey of the world’s 30 biggest exporting nations, meaning that business people from these nations hand out more bribes in their dealings abroad than any other.
The victims of this practise are the developing nations they deal with, Transparency International head Huguette Labelle wrote on the organization’s web site. “bribing companies are actively undermining the best efforts of governments in developing nations to improve governance, and thereby driving the vicious cycle of poverty.”
Switzerland, Sweden and Australia with scores of 7.81, 7.62, 7.59 respectively topped the list. It is also worth noting that France; Israel; Italy; South Korea; Saudi Arabia; Brazil; South Africa; Malaysia, Taiwan and Turkey with scores of 6.5; 6.01; 5.94; 5.83; 5.75; 5.65; 5.61; 5.59; 5.41 and 5.23 occupy the 15th; 19th; 20th; 21st; 22nd; 23rd; 24th; 25th; 26th and 27th positions respectively.
In the May 2002 release of the Index, Russia was at the very bottom of the 21-country list. But Panfilova said she did not consider Russia’s two-slot rise in the new ranking a real improvement. “More likely, this kind of corruption is frozen at the same level,” she said. “It is definitely not getting better.”
In the lights of this report, this article has set forth to analyse the negative implications for Nigeria: most especially on its economy and provide recommendations for our policy makers, the federal government, most especially The EFCC and THE SSS on how to minimise or prevent the risk of Russian business expansion into Nigeria.
But before we proceed, it is worth noting that with this report, at least, the secret or the myth about the trade success or aggressive economic expansion of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries has now been revealed. It is now clear that there is much more to their success abroad than technological breakthrough or efficient management.
Undoubtedly, all the relentless efforts of Ribadu and The EFCC in their uncompromised fight against corruption will be brought to naught or rubbished if the countries mentioned in the report, especially Russia; where the author resides and where the main focus of this article will be, use bribery and other unethical means to do or secure business in Nigeria.
Imagine if you are pumping out 50 litres of water an hour from your flooded house, and a saboteur is pouring back 500 litres an hour back. Definitely, under such circumstances, your house will not only remain flooded, but things will turn out for the worse.
DAMAGE OF FOREIGN BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION TO THE ECONOMY
In general, the harm or damage foreign bribery and corruption can inflict on a country socially, economically and politically can not be over emphasized. The economic and commercial activities of the so called ‘foreign investor’ if not checked strictly, could destabilise our economy and make it dependent on external forces.
Dumping not only discourages local entrepreneurship but could as well render our industries uncompetitive, which in the long run could lead to closure of businesses and mass unemployment.
The South African textile industry is yet to recover from the damage inflicted on the sector by the dumping of chinese cheap textiles. Quiet a number of South African textile factories were compelled to close down simply because they could not match the price of chinese textiles mass produced with the labour of chinese prisoners, and sold below market prices. The South African government is debating a bill that will ban the export of Chinese textile products as the only remedy to save the industry from total collapse, before it is too late.
Money laundering – a process whereby millions or billions of dollars made illegally or through criminal acts is transferred out of the country is another evil foreign bribery and corruption can bring. A country’s economy could be paralysed in the process, and may not recover from the blow.