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Study finds crime, corruption as main obstacles to business in Nigeria

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Crime and corruption are the main obstacles to doing business in Nigeria and more than half of firms in the country say they are victims of crime at least once a year, a study showed on Thursday.

The European Union-funded survey of more than 2,200 businesses in all sectors of sub-Saharan Africa’s second-biggest economy showed crime and corruption were the biggest headache for more than 70 percent.

More than a third said they were forced to pay bribes when dealing with the public sector, in particular the police and customs services, according to the study by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.

“On average more than 50 percent of Nigerian businesses become victims of crime at least once a year,” Ugo Sokari-George, spokeswoman for the European Union delegation in Nigeria, said in a statement.

Africa’s most populous country is regularly ranked among the world’s most corrupt, and corruption is seen by investors as an important disincentive to doing business.

President Umaru Yar’Adua, who died in May, initially vowed to make respect for the rule of law the cornerstone of his presidency, but the fight against graft made little headway.

His successor Goodluck Jonathan has also promised to fight corruption, although with little time left of the current presidential term, sceptics wonder how much progress he can make.

The survey was part of a 25-million-euro project funded by the EU to support the EFCC and the Nigerian judiciary.

Source: Reuters

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