Business Leaders Welcome Anti-Corruption Summit Momentum to End Anonymous Companies, Promote Open Contracting
London - May 12, 2016 - The B Team welcomes the country commitments made today at the International Anti-Corruption Summit to ensure transparency in company ownership, and to make public contracting open by default - but more national leadership and tangible action is needed if we are to make company transparency and public accountability a true global norm.
“Governments gathered in London have delivered some—but certainly not all—of the tangible commitments we need to prevent corruption and limit its corrosive effects on sustainable development,” said Mo Ibrahim, founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and B Team Leader, “It’s a good first step—but it’s not far enough and we need far more governments to take action.”
The B Team welcomes the commitments made by Afghanistan, France, Kenya, the Netherlands and Nigeria to join the UK in implementing public central registries of true company ownership.
“Ending anonymous companies will not only help prevent corruption, but such transparency is also good for business” said Mo Ibrahim, founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and B Team Leader.
Alongside governments, companies are showing leadership in opening up their company structures and The B Team welcomes the commitments at the Summit for governments to work with civil society and business to make beneficial ownership transparency a global reality. One way to do so is to support a new coalition working to create a global platform—the Global Beneficial Ownership Register—to translate access to data into accountability by making it possible to compare information and engage citizens, journalists, law enforcement and businesses in finding and preventing corruption.
The Summit today has also demonstrated further momentum through commitments by 13 countries to implement the Open Contracting Data Standard alongside the broader support by the 40 governments in the communique to make “public procurement open by default”. Public procurement is a 9.5 trillion dollar global annual market, and represents the way that many governments deliver critical public services and infrastructure through and with the private sector. It is also the locus of significant corruption which undermines citizen’s access to quality health, education and infrastructure.
“Open contracting is a powerful tool to prevent corruption, ensure that public funds benefit citizens while reducing costs and opening up markets to new players, particularly small and medium enterprises” said Mo Ibrahim.
These commitments must be swiftly translated into action and we call for the following:
- Governments to quickly move to implement these commitments into law, working in partnership with business and civil society and strengthening accountability for these commitments through the Open Government Partnership and the United Nations;
- All governments to commit to action on beneficial ownership transparency;
- Governments, public and international institutions to prevent corruption in their procurement processes by adopting open contracting and making transparency of company ownership a condition of bidding for contracts;
- Businesses to join leading companies in making their own company structures available in open data, and taking action to ensure beneficial ownership transparency in their value chains.
- Governments, international institutions and businesses to support the development of the Global Beneficial Ownership Register and commit to using such a platform to require suppliers and partners to publicly disclose their beneficial ownership.