December 9 has been designated by the United Nations as International Anti-Corruption Day to raise awareness of corruption and the role of all involved parties, from international organizations, governments to global industries and local businesses combating and preventing it.
Today also sees the launch of a new action plan to fight corruption within shipping in Nigeria. The action plan has been developed by the MACN together with Nigeria's Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption (TUGAR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). All 30 member MACN member companies stand behind the project and will contribute in its implementation.
The project was created following a study into corruption in Nigeria, co-sponsored by MACN members and UNDP, and undertaken by TUGAR. The study included training special risk assessors and conducting interviews with local government officials in order to establish why corruption is so prevalent. Bringing the challenges identified in the study out into the open is in itself a success.
As well as collaboration from the industry, the fight against corruption also requires commitment from local government officials to greater transparency and to eliminating corruption within their ranks.
Concrete measures for the Nigerian authorities include integrity training, streamlining of processes to make the port calls more efficient, reducing manual handling and establishing a formalised complaint mechanism. MACN encourages companies to align their policies and procedures for port calls and cargo clearance, in order to minimise the opportunity for solicitation of bribes or facilitation payments.
"Although this particular project has only started, it proves how powerful collective action can be when stakeholders throughout the global supply chain of trade join forces in a common quest," says Linda Haavik, Compliance Manager at WWL.
The experience from undertaking this project will now be initiated to enable MACN to replicate it to other relevant countries for the members of MACN.
According to the United Nations, corruption adds approximately 10 percent to the cost of doing business in many parts of the world. The MACN has been founded by WWL and fourteen other companies in the maritime industry to create a maritime sector that rewards ethical business practices and in which corruption is a thing of the past. In addition to sharing best practices between the members and aligning policies and approaches in the field of anti-corruption, the MACN will also seek support from governments and international organisations to target corrupt practices in challenging jurisdictions and find ways of addressing the root causes of corruption.
Linda Haavik continues: "In MACN we work together to reduce the risk of solicitation of bribes, while strengthening our efforts to identify, monitor and mitigate bribery and corruption risks. This will benefit our customer and our entire industry by making it more competitive, ethical and sustainable in the long run."
[Link to MACN info (through BSR site, MACN will have website during 2014): http://www.bsr.org/en/our-work/working-groups/maritime-anti-corruption-network]