Privatisation and accountability in a “crony capitalist” Nigerian state

Owolabi Bakre, Sarah Lauwo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Nigeria is richly endowed with oil and gas resources, but the country’s continued reliance on loans from international financial institutions raises questions about the transparency and accountability of its utilisation of the huge revenues resulting from these two resources. In order to attract international capital to bolster its revenues from sales of oil and gas, a huge proportion of which continues to be used corruptly, the World Bank has encouraged the Nigerian government to subscribe to neoliberal economic policies by enlisting accounting firms and privatising state-owned enterprises. Key justifications for this have included enhancing accountability, reducing public-sector corruption, promoting market efficiency and attracting international capital. However, this paper presents evidence of the role of accounting in the undervaluation of assets, concealment of possible malpractice, and subversion of the accountability that it should have delivered in the privatisation process. The assumption that accounting will enhance accountability, reduce public-sector corruption and promote market efficiency in privatisation, and ultimately attract investment into a crony capitalist Nigerian state, appears to be an illusion created partly through the apparent legitimacy of accounting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-58
Number of pages14
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Early online date21 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • privatisation
  • cronyism
  • accounting
  • state-owned enterprises
  • international financial institutions

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