Nigerian Companies spent about N11.3 billion as charitable donations for the year ended December 2018 compared to about N10 billion a year earlier. This is based on publicly available information from about 17 of the most capitalized companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The information was sourced from the annual reports of these companies and excludes donations from private companies. 

Companies are encouraged to contribute part of their revenues as charitable donations in line with their Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR policies. Some of the donations are tax-deductible while others do not qualify for tax deductions. In Nigeria, companies decide how, when and who they donate their money to. 

Highest Donors: A cursory review of the data gathered shows Zenith Bank donated a whopping N3 billion in the year ended December 2018, by far the largest donor of any company on our list. Closest to Zenith Bank was Dangote Cement, donating about N2.2 billion. Other high donors during the year were MTN with N1.45 billion and UBA with about N1 billion. GT Bank donated about N928 million

The banking sector also remains one of the highest donors surveyed. The banks on our list contributed about N5.6 billion in 2018 alone towards CSR related projects. Banks also make the most profits so this was expected.  

Receivers: Of curious interest to us was whom they donated most of the money to. Zenith Bank, the highest donor, gave out N1.5 billion of its cash to the “States Security Trust Funds”. This made up about half its total donations. Dangote Cement did not breakdown how it deployed its own donations.

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UBA another major donor gave out about N327 million to security-related donations. CBN received about N400 million, N295 million, and N200 million from UBA, GTB and Zenith Bank respectively towards Financial inclusion related initiatives. GT Bank spends most of its donations on Education related activities. 

MTN channels most of its donations to its MTN Foundation non-profit organisation which claims it is focussed on Education, Economic Empowerment and Health.  

Upshots: Donation is a critical aspect of Corporate Social Responsibility and it is interesting to see how most companies contribute towards this. Unfortunately, there is not enough transparency in terms of how this is reported. While banks list out their donations in details, other industries do not provide enough detail in their annual reports. This makes it difficult to provide a comprehensive assessment of CSR activities of quoted companies in the country.  

We also did not observe any consistency in how donations are made across specific industries. For example, in the brewery sector, Internation Breweries led the pack with about N116 million. Nigeria Breweries its rival spent about N58 million. Guinness did not disclose theirs. In the agricultural sector, Okomu oil spent about N260 million compared to Presco, its main competitor, N39 million. This indicates a lack of competition in how CSR is implemented within sectors.

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