By Prince Okafor
Giving the Federal Government’s determination to stop corruption, Siemens Nigeria has said that corruption will cost the nation 37 percent of its Gross Domestic Product, GDP, if both the public and private sectors do not fight it together.
The is even as the United Nations Global Compact harp on the need of private sector to synergise with the federal government to put an end to corruption.
Siemens is a multinational company operating in Nigeria, with a focus on advocating strong business ethics for Small Medium Enterprises, SMEs and Large corporates.
Speaking on the sideline of a collective Anti-corruption workshop for Nigerian Small Medium Enterprises, organised by the UN Global Compact, in Lagos, the Chief Financial Officer of Siemens Nigeria, Ms. Funmi Akande said that, “If the magnitude of corruption in the country persists, it will cost Nigeria 37 percent of its GDP by 2030.”
She said that corruption is a major issue that has to be tackled for Nigeria to progress, stating that, “The Siemens Integrity Initiative was focused on the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs, who are over 37 million in the country, and represent 84 percent of the total labour force
On her part, the Chief of Africa, UN Global Compact, Ms. Olajobi Makinwa, said that, “Corruption is not only a government issue, the private sector has a role to play on it, in some cases I may say that it’s even driven by the private sector.
“This is why Global Compact is saying that we should not only fight corruption by pointing fingers at the government, we need to bring all the actors together in a platform that is friendly and not antagonistic, and that’s what we do.
“We leverage on bringing the actors together, looking at the issues holistically and fight it together to ensure that the country is free from this evil.”
She stressed that, “If all the companies were to take fundamental steps like respecting employee rights, and refusing bribery and corruption we would make enormous progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals.”
In his presentation on “The Role of SMEs in the Political Economy of Nigeria-Corruption Risks and Challenges: Perspectives of SMEs & Large Corporates”, Mr. Femi Oye the CEO, SME Funds noted that weak institutions played a role in the spread of corruption in the nation.
Mr. Oye said corruption seemed beneficial to the SMEs because of the perception of improving efficiency where government laws are inhibiting businesses.
He highlighted the corruption risks for SMEs to include; operational, strategic, financial and hazards, while he was of the strong view that businesses should “red-card” and “name-shame” industry perpetrators.