Friday, July 28, 2017 5.00pm/Proshare WebTV
Prospects for collective action amongst SMEs in Nigeria to tackle corruption gained traction, with a strategic workshop session organized by UN Global Compact Network. This was in partnership with Siemens and the Convention for Business Integrity. It featured focus group sessions discussing key action steps that should be prioritized for SMEs in their fight against corruption.
Mr. Soji Apampa, Co-Founder of the Convention of Business Integrity, spoke on the workshop and the plans for Advocacy engagement with the Presidency on the collective action plan. In his words, "You cannot drive anti-corruption if it does not solve a survival need for SMEs. A survival need is access to finance, a survival need is to know how to deal with regulators; those are the things that will drive their impact and participation."
Speaking further he said, "When SMEs deal with their own inadequacies in terms of risk, uncertainty to build capacity among themselves, and certification of their ability to do the right things, then it will be easier to get other parties to engage with them. We will also be speaking with the office of the Acting President when we have identified what it is the SMEs want. We need to get him to speak to these agencies directly to ensure that there is cooperation on changing the rules in a way that actually works for MSMEs that are willing to do the right thing and support the anti-corruption drive. Our thrust is about the prevention of corruption before it happens rather than chasing people after it has already taken place."
The Head of the UN Global Compact Network Nigeria Office, Olajobi Makinwa, gave further insight into the developments in the Anti-Corruption Workshop for SMEs. She stressed that the workshop involved specifics and prioritization on steps that are achievable within the next one year in order of importance.
Makinwa pointed out that the SMEs have proposed a compliance kit for themselves that will ensure integrity and make them more attractive to prospective clients, regulatory bodies and financial institutions. She empathized with stakeholders at the workshop, acknowledging the fact that a myriad of factors militate against MSMEs as they struggle to survive in a volatile business environment.
For Mr. Eke Ubiji, Executive Secretary of the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) who shared the perspective of the SMEs on the collective action, the workshop was a commendable one as the issue of anti-corruption was being tackled on a physical, intellectual and attitudinal level.
“The good thing is that the result of this workshop will permeate into other sectors. If we apply what we have learnt here in our businesses it will become a different ballgame altogether. If we all inculcate the spirit of anti-corruption then our businesses will grow exponentially, promoting economic growth and development," he said.
With increasing awareness for SMEs on the need to tackle corruption, through the collaboration of the CBI, UN Global Compact Network and Siemens, Nigeria could witness a transformation in the business environment that will positively impact the economy.
The workshop also featured focus group sessions discussing the critical issues, that need to be addressed for MSMEs to tackle the menace of corruption in the country.
Officials of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC), attended the workshop, to observe, monitor and gain feedback on the collective action for MSMEs against corruption.