By Prince Okafor
The President, National Association of Small Medium Enterprises (NASME) Mr. Degun Agboade, has called on the Federal Government to domesticate the provision of Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, 16.5 to mitigate the issue of corruption in the country.
The SDGs’ goal 16.5 is aimed at substantially reducing corruption and bribery in all their forms.
Speaking at the 3rd United Nations Global Compact Anti-Corruption workshop for Micro, Medium and Small Enterprises (MSMEs), he said: “We can achieve reduction in corruption and institutionalize global best practices and good governance for MSMEs by domesticating the provisions of SDGs 16.5
“Corruption like the cankerworm has been the bane of social-economic development in our society. To say the least, it has done so much harm to our economy and our psyche as a people it has impeded development and worsened growth indicators.
“This has resulted into poor and currently collapsing infrastructural facilities. It has become a big enterprise with people seeking to benefit immensely from this unlawful criminal and unethical act.
“Government should establish a credible funding window that specializes on MSME funding at unit digit 4 to 5 percent interest rate. Commercial Banks are currently not willing to lend to MSMEs because of perceived risks and uncertainties. Government is promising us that the newly established Development of Nigeria (DBN) will be dedicated to MSMES
“Putting the right structures and appropriate legislative intervention to unleash economic opportunities for MSMEs is expected to create a positive ripple effect in the economy
“MSMEs should be encouraged to join Business Membership Organizations (BMOs) of their choice for a louder advocacy result. This will enhance collective action to achieving tangible incentives such as overcoming specific challenges of MSMEs,” she added.
In her opening remarks, the Co-Chairman of the Global Compact Nigeria Steering committee Ms Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan shared that the focus of the 3rd edition, was to increase business integrity, improve transparency for businesses and advance the “Anti-Corruption Agenda” which is Goal 16 of the SDGs of the United Nations.
She said that, “The fight for corruption among SMEs is progressing. One of the things that have changed is that, more MSMEs are now fully aware of the harm of corruption, which is the foundation of most of the problems they are having.
“We will continue to canvass on the need to end this cankerworm called corruption through our meetings with MSMEs. We are going sector by sector to ensure that corruption is mitigated to the barest minimum. We can keep waiting on the government. We need to start from the grassroots.
“The next workshop is at the end of this month, we have two in August, and it will continue, so we are starting and we want to maintain the momentum to make sure that we have the impact we are looking forward to,” she added.