The United Nations Global Compact has developed a toolkit for Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises in Nigeria as part of efforts to tackle the challenge of corruption faced by the MSMEs.
The Chief, Africa, UN Global Compact, Olajobi Makinwa, said the toolkit was designed to help the MSMEs strengthen their internal compliance against corruption and become attractive to Banks.
She said at the Local Network’s Anti-Corruption Collective Action Incubation Lab Workshop in Lagos that the MSMEs could operate with integrity like big firms, adding that it was agreed a few months ago that a toolkit should be developed to assist them.
Makinwa said, “The toolkit will include regulatory compliance; how do they comply with regulations in the country? You have to be registered as an MSME. Once you register, then people who want to give you loans can see that you are a registered company. Then you need to put your control in place; you have to put your books in place, and train your staff.
“If a Bank wants to give you a loan and sees that you comply with all these things, then it shows that you are a company operating with integrity. I think for us it is helping them to understand that it is not impossible for them, as MSMEs, to fight corruption.”
The Chief Executive Officer, Convention on Business Integrity Limited, Soji Apampa, said, “The major message for MSME is that it is possible to improve how they appear to funding institutions like banks, and it is centred on improvement to their governance and internal controls.
“We are trying to show them that if they improve their governance and internal controls, they will also improve their attitude towards corruption. If they tighten up their processes and procedures, they will look more attractive to their banks.”
Apampa said the MSMEs could use the toolkit to assess themselves, adding, “We will introduce assurance services where banks and other financial institutions can ask for third-parties to go in, review these things that the SMEs claim to be in place and score it. So we are creating a scoring process as well and the quality of governance and controls that an SME has can be rated.”