Privatisation and accountability in a “crony capitalist” Nigerian state

Bakre, Owolabi M. and Lauwo, S. 2016. Privatisation and accountability in a “crony capitalist” Nigerian state. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 39, pp. 45-58. ISSN 1045-2354 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

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.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Privatisation, Cronyism, Accounting, State-owned enterprises, International financial institutions

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


8 January 2016Accepted
21 January 2016Published Online
September 2016Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

14 Nov 2018 15:55

Last Modified:

12 Mar 2021 14:06

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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