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DETERMINANTS OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY DISCLOSURE IN LISTED DEPOSIT MONEY BANKS IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the study
In developed economies the concept of business has focused not only on profit making activities but also social welfare activities where businesses are not only responsible to its shareholders but also to all of its stakeholders. Empirical works revealed that there has been a growing global public awareness of the role of corporations in society. Many companies which have been credited with contributing to economic and technology progress have been criticized for creating social problems. Issues such as pollution, waste, resources depletion, product quality and safety, the rights and status of workers and the power of large corporations have become the focus of increasing attention and concern. (Islam, 2012).
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the process of communicating the social and environmental effects of organizations‟ economic actions to particular interest groups within society and to society at large. As such, it involves extending the accountability of organizations (particularly) companies; beyond the traditional role of providing a financial benefit to the owners of capital, particularly shareholders but also to the community. Such extension is predicated upon the assumption that companies do have wider responsibilities than simply to make money for their shareholders (Rizk, Dixon, and Woodhead, 2008).
Similarly, Nigeria Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) despite being profit making and service oriented firms also participate in CSR. Most of the quoted deposit money banks in Nigeria have recently realized that in order for them to survive and continue business as a going
concern, they must adopt a system that bridges the gap between financial performance and the social system within which they operate.
In addition, CRS in Nigeria can be traced back to the practices in the oil and gas multinationals. The CSR activities in this sector are majorly centered on the local communities. The companies provide pipe-borne water, hospitals and schools among others. These initiatives are special and not always sustained (Amaeshi, Adi, Ogbechie, and Amao, 2006). The main influencing factors driving the CSR practice in Nigeria have been foreign; multinational companies operating in Nigeria together with foreign governments and international Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have been the primary drivers (Helg, 2007).
The concept has been a growing field of interest by sociologists, economist and accountants since 70s. The accounting struggle was to ensure that all social costs are adequately identified, measured and disclosed in the corporate periodic financial reports. Stakeholders are challenging firms to account for the level of their involvement in CSR (Tsoutsoura, 2004). CSR issue has therefore maintained its momentum continuously not only in developed economies but also in underdeveloped and developing countries particularly in Nigeria. Because, companies disclose information on CSR as a result of pressure from stakeholders such as customer, communities, investors, employees and creditors also due to the increase of global awareness of the role of companies in the society.
Moreover, many empirical studies have focused on the variation in CSR practice across developed countries (Smith, Adhikari Tondkar 2005; Gray and Bebbington 2007), only a
few have addressed this issue in developing countries (Haniffa and cooker, 2005; 2007; Akintola 2010). This suggests that CSR is more relevant to corporations operating in the developed nations due to community awareness and expectations of society responsible behavior. Also societal awareness and expectations in the developing nations on CSR is less important to the society.
Firm size, profitability, liquidity, leverage, dividend and firm growth are the most key considered in determining firm CSR investment, disclosure and practice in previous studies. Firm size is one of the determining factors of CSR disclosure in developed and developing countries. This study extended as far as determining the extent to which firm size contributes to CSR. Firm size measured in different ways by different authors such as turnover, total assets, fixed assets, paid up capital, shareholders equity, capital employed, number of employees and market value of the firm. This study measured firm size as total assets of the firm which is in line with the work of Shehu and Faruk (2013); Abdu Abubakar (2016); and Tazul-Islam(2010). It is expected that large firm would like to practice and disclosure more information on CSR because of economic advantages.
Similarly, profitability has been measured by previous researches in so many ways such as net profit to sales, earnings growth, dividend growth, return on assets and return on investment. Here, the study measured profitability on the basis of return on investment in line with Khaled, Mohammed, and Marwa, (2011). There are divergent opinions on whether CSR practice and disclosure has relationship with profitability some results reveal positive, negative while others have mixed results and even absence of relationship between the concerned variables.
There are a reasonable number of literatures on liquidity as one of the determining factors of CSR practice and disclosure in developed and developing economy. Liquidity is seen as vital aspect in the life of a commercial bank and that the level of banks engagement in CSR and other related activities is determined to a greater extent by the banks‟ liquidity position Samad (2004). Firm with large liquidity has advantage to solve its financial matters efficiently and effectively over the one that has lesser or even absence of it.
Gearing on the other hand explains the debt component of the capital structure of a firm. Reasons were advanced by several researchers that firm with a high gearing would have little resources to take care of some other objectives. However, firms‟ decision to engage in CSR disclosure may also be influenced by gearing this is because of attracting more investors to invest in their company which give stakeholders alarm that the firm has a good future survival and growth.
It is however argued that firms‟ decision to engage in CSR disclosure may also be influenced by dividend paid. Various researchers have advanced several reasons in the literature regarding the association between firm CSR engagement and dividend paid, which is mixed and inconsistent with some cases revealing positive, negative and even absence of relationship. This study go beyond that as not only evaluate the relationship but also examined the influence dividend paid has in driving firms to practice and disclose CSR.
The association between firm growths as one of the expected determinants of CSR disclosure of an organization has been established in different countries with divergent views as to the impact it has on the CSR disclosure of a firm to variations of the
environments, methodologies and the periods in which the studies were conducted. Moreover, notable researches like Waddock and Graves (1997) and Campbell (2007) proposed that, since firms that are less profitable with relatively poor assets size and unable to optimized their liquidity position would have fewer resources to spare for socially responsible activities compare to those firms that are more profitable with large assets size and operate at an appropriate liquidity level. This mean that firm recorded consistent positive growth in many sensitive aspect of its operation will likely to participate more on CSR activities.
Banking industry play a significant role towards the development of nation‟s economy, their activities covers many angle of life and is expected to spend more toward championing Corporate Social Responsibility. The increase pressure and awareness from society on CSR disclosure has been the challenged facing almost every sector globally. However, Deposit Money Banks in Nigeria being the most important sector in the economy are not left out to the challenge.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Following the series of banking reforms undergone during the Soludo, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and the current reforms going on by Godwin Emefiele like introduction of cashless policy, reduction of monetary policy rate, exchange rate stability and introduction of Treasury Single Account (TSA), Nigerian deposit money banks (DMBs) have always been at receiving end of these reforms, in terms of improving the quality of service delivery to the customers rather than the interest of the bank.
However, DMBs of Nigeria have been facing challenge of liquidity since the implementation of TSA policy in 2015. This may significantly affect the level of CSR in DMBs of Nigeria, but there might be greater demand of DMBs to disclose more CSR activities to meet up their demand. This therefore triggers the need for evaluating empirically the factors influencing CRS disclosure of DMBs in Nigeria. Thus, do the factors that have been previously documented to influence CSR disclosure in developed and developing economics also influence CSR disclosure in Nigeria. The current study seeks to provide answer.
In addition, there are reasonable literature that attempt to address the debate surrounding CSR issue and its determining factors. Firm size, Profitability, Liquidity, Leverage, Dividend and Firm growth are the key factors considered in determining Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) disclosure and practice in many previous studies which revealed mixed results Abubakar Abdu (2016). Some studies such as Lin chih, Hsuan chih and Yin chen (2010), Akintola (2010), Khaled, Mohamed and Marwa (2011) and Faruk and Shehu (2013) have produced evidence in support of a positive impact of factors influencing CSR activities while other works such as John and Shyan (2010) and Abu Sufian (2012) reported no significant impact at all.