By Omoh Gabriel, Business Editor, with agency reports
LAGOS—In its bid to assist African Government to fight the hydra-headed monster of corruption, the United States of America Securities and Exchange Commission voted 2-1, yesterday, to adopt an anti-bribery rule that will require energy and other companies to disclose payments they make to governments out side the United States and for manufacturers to disclose to investors whether their products contain certain minerals from conflict torn Africa countries especially from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Two members of the commission were recused on the vote, and one Republican commissioner voted against the rule, saying it fell outside the SEC’s investor protection expertise. The America securities regulators also voted 3-2 on a rule that requires manufacturers to disclose to investors whether their products contain certain minerals from Africa especially the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Both rules were required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulation overhaul, but the SEC has delayed implementing them amid industry criticism that the rules are too onerous and may reveal sensitive information to rivals. The final version of the so-called conflict minerals rule removes an obligation required in previous proposals for manufacturers to be responsible for generic products made by a third party.
It will be recalled that a World Bank study conducted in 26 states in Nigeria and released two weeks ago indicated that about 80 per cent of businesses in the country paid bribes to government officials in 2011 to stay in business. According to the report, World Bank’s 2011 report on investment climate in Nigeria, one-third of micro-enterprises agreed that “informal payments/gifts to government officials” were common occurrences, suggesting that registered firms deal more with such requests for bribes.