Larry Elliott has a good article under the title "The new scramble for Africa must have the courage to curb corruption" this morning. It does, of course, support country-by-country reporting in the extractive industries, to which George Osborne and Vince Cable lent their support yesterday. The idea originated long ago in a publication I wrote called Extracting Transparency.
Larry notes in the article that:
It's also wrong. There is massive opposition to this transparency in business. The call for country-by-country reporting has just been subject to a consultation by the European Union. As the submissions show the massed rank of opposition to this proposal, whose aim is to ensure the end of corruption and the increase in shareholder value as well as the beating of tax abuse, is enormous. Those bodies who oppose disclosure and so support the continuation of corruption (one follows the other - since none of them suggest an alternative mechanism for tackling the issue) include:
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
European Banking Federation
International Association of Oil and Gas Producers
UK 100 Group of FTSE Finance Diectors
Federation of European Accountants
Glaxo Smith Kline
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
UK Accounting Standards Board
Belgian Accounting Standards Board
Association of British Insurers
Each and every one of them needs to be held to account for supporting corruption.
Each and every one of them could have said they wanted disclosure to help stop corruption. But they refused to do so. Thy put their own self interest first.
And for that they deserve all the blame they get.
And in due course special mention will go to PWC - watch this space.