Some weeks back during the total lockdown phase across Lagos, Ogun States and Abuja, the story of an elderly woman (probably in her early sixties) went viral which echoed sympathy across the nation. The said woman who was engaged in her business before the lockdown, found herself in a position where she could barely feed herself and her family and out of frustration and desperation to survive, she mentioned she was willing to prostitute herself to raise money to feed her family. The outcry from the citizens was overwhelming and quite a number of concerned people who heard her story where moved to donate money and other resources. This woman belongs to the class of the vulnerable. Did she get a pack of the palliatives as allegedly distributed by the Government?More
On Monday, November 25, 2019, “Ethics Quite Easily Demonstrated” platform which was later renamed MSMEStandards was formally launched. The platform is a Unique Web-based Solution that prepares MSMEs to meet COSO 2013 standards on internal controls and to establish certifiable anti-bribery, anti-corruption standards (ABAC).
With increasing need for MSMEs to improve their chances of growth and survival, despite the challenges they face in the country, strong collaborations and an adoption of the COSO 2013 framework is important to enable MSMEs attain international best practice for ethics and governance.
Here are 5 key things to know about MSMEStandards as well as responses to the frequently asked questions regarding the platform.
- What is MSMEStandards about?
The MSMEStandards platform is a web-based solution developed to enable Service users carry out a self-assessment compliance check, identify the gaps, and then get help from professional Service providers to bridge the gaps for better structure, controls and compliance processes.
- Why was MSMEStandards developed?
MSMEs in Nigeria are severely challenged by issues relating to access to capital, credit and information, structure, high cost of doing business, corruption, Infrastructural inadequacies, human capital, amongst others. Thus, MSMEStandards was designed to help MSMEs distinguish themselves from other organisations by using compliance with international standards as a competitive edge, while subscribing to the COSO 2013 framework.
- Who manages the MSMEStandards Platform?
The platform was developed by the Convention on Business Integrity and is currently managed by the MSMEStandards team under its Business Action Against Corruption Project.
- Who can use the Platform?
The Platform is open to Small, Mid and Large enterprise businesses as well as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). Funders and Donors also make use of the platform as independent assessors to assess the level of compliance of potential businesses they seek to engage.
- What are the benefits of using the MSMEStandards Portal?
Service Users enjoy the following:
- Voluntary compliance assessment to show credible evidence of conformance with national and international standards and regulations
- Access to Service Providers Who Provide Regulatory Interface Services
- Access to tools to aid the institution of good governance and control systems
- Free information on regulatory requirements for different sectors
- Advocacy (e.g. regulatory conversations, partnerships with relevant regulatory agencies, e.g. maritime sector, public procurement interface)
- Training/Assessment on ABAC (Anti-Bribery/Anti-Corruption)
- Access to Finance
For Service Providers, the platform helps to facilitate the following:
- Recognition as a MSMEStandards Compliant organisation.
- Access to a ready market
- Access to increased funding and support.
To Funders (Banks, International Donor Agencies, Venture Capital Firms, Large Enterprise Companies), the platform helps to reduces the time spent on verifying compliant and clean businesses that subscribe to the COSO 2013 Framework.
To get started as a Service User or Service Provider is FREE, simply visit www.msmestandards.com, click on register, fill the required information and the team will reach out.
Welcome to the journey of building blocks for governance, controls and anti-corruption compliance in your businesses.
With the extension of the easing of the lockdown, please ensure you are taking responsibility for your health by keeping safe and abiding by the guidelines of the NCDC, the Federal and State Governments.
On the 5th of March, 2020, The Convention on Business Integrity held the 6th in the series of the Regulatory Conversations, themed, “National Identity Number (NIN): Matters Arising & Implications to Nation Building”. The forum addressed the NIN and its regulatory framework, the need to urgently accelerate the enrollment of more citizens on the NIM database, the mandatory use of the NIN as well as its implications for all associated activities and business transactions in Nigeria.
In a few short weeks after the event, issues raised were brought to the fore in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The relevance of the discourse in present day realities in the Nigerian socioeconomic sphere can only be imagined. Recent events in Nigeria has exposed the inefficiency in our Data Management system especially in the area of identifying and capturing the vulnerable in our society, their numbers and location. How do we plan adequately when we do not have accurate data indicating the basic information of the citizens? The best time to Act is NOW.
We had mentioned, in an earlier on-line engagement that, these conversations would be on-going during this period. We believe this is the right time to bring the issues to the fore and get the attention of policy makers to take the right steps in this regard.
In line with this, we have scheduled a webinar in collaboration with Citizens Connect themed: “The crucial role of Civil society in Nation building: Case study of the Data Management System in Nigeria”.
The objective of the webinar is to provide a platform for influencers within the Nigerian civil society to discuss and proffer solutions to these lingering issues. At the end of the webinar, a communique would be developed and presented to the relevant policy makers as a tool to drive this specific policy. This webinar is scheduled to hold on Thursday, May 28, 2020 by 11am.
Confirmed speakers at the Webinar include,
- Mr. Soji Apampa – CEO – Integrity Organisation,
- Ms. Franscisca Kanayo-Chiedu – Director, Citizens Connect
- Ms. Idayat Hassan – Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)
To participate, kindly register HERE
Due to time constraints and in other to have an organized discourse; we want to encourage our stakeholders to send their questions and comments ahead of time for easy collation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to you participating at this Conversation series.
Stakeholders discuss Actionable Steps for MSMEs in Response to the Covid19 Pandemic during the MSMEStandards Webinar
On Wednesday, May 06, 2020, the Convention on Business Integrity hosted the MSMEConversations Webinar focused on “Crisis Response for MSMEs” in partnership with Proshare and DealHQ. This is part of the initiatives of CBi Nigeria under its MSME Standards project.
With the current realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, the grappling uncertainties around the economy, business continuity, social welfare, contract performance and the inadequate technology infrastructure to deal with the myriad of issues that have been made more pronounced by the pandemic, ravaging not just the people but the structures and way of life as we knew it. In the midst of dealing with local issues and the more pressing global conversations that seeks to address appropriate business responses and strategies focused on crisis response for MSMEs who are undoubtedly one of the most hit by the pandemic, the Webinar was an opportunity for participants to gain insights from experts regarding what they can do differently to stay ahead.More
How do we keep Nigerians from despair and from taking precipitate action whilst saving Nigeria’s economy from the ravages of COVID-19? What would be adequate, effective and efficient way(s) to respond to the social and economic fallout of the virus? The timing of its spread in Nigeria, just before the planting season also raises alarms that if farmers are unable to plant with the advent of the rains, the repercussions of the virus on famine, food security, etc could ring for another couple of years if care is not taken. Can we survive if we allow the potentially grave social upheaval starting to raise its ugly head to also linger for that long? Nigeria is in dire need of a roadmap to social and economic recovery from the raging coronavirus.More
Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) to hold Roundtable Session on “Service Delivery at the Nigerian Ports”
Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) to hold Roundtable Session on “Service Delivery at the Nigerian Ports”
The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN), represented in Nigeria by the Convention on Business Integrity (CBI), is set to host a roundtable session themed, “Towards Standard Operating Procedures That Work in Nigeria’s Sea Ports & Terminals” on Tuesday, October 8th, 2019.
The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) is a global business network working towards the vision of a maritime industry free of corruption, enabling fair trade to the benefit of society at large. In collaboration with CBI, MACN broadened its collective action in the fight against corruption under the Business Action Against Corruption (BAAC) mandate.
In 2012, the MACN, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Technical Unit on Government and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR), and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) commissioned a corruption risk assessment (CRA) in the Nigerian port sector.
The assessment set out to understand the main drivers of corruption in the sector, identify specific measures for addressing such drivers, and catalyze action among public and private sector stakeholders.
The Corruption Risk Assessment report made specific recommendations for action to eliminate corruption in the Nigerian port sector. Amongst the recommendations was a proposal for ethics training and capacity-building programs to strengthen transparency and accountability of port stakeholders.
As part of its collective action programme, in 2016 MACN contracted the CBI to lead the training of ports officials on professional ethics. Pursuant to this, the CBI conducted a round of ‘Training of Trainers’ in Lagos (Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports), Port Harcourt (Onne and Rivers Port Complex), and Calabar Port between 2016 and May 2017. Thereafter, an end-user training was conducted for over 1000 stakeholders in the Ports between November 2017 and March 2018.
In August 2019, CBI released its Ports User Survey Report following a customer survey done in December 2018. The report addressed the following issues:
- The lack of clear procedures and processes backed up by relevant laws (including obsolete laws and procedures) in many areas of port operation including such processes as Temporary Imports, Permanent Imports, Midstream Discharge, Emergency Importations (Hand carry policy) etc.
- Exercise of discretionary powers by Customs oﬃcers, port agencies, Terminal Operators, and Stevedoring Companies including the discretionary powers to impose customs duties and tariffs, classiﬁcation of goods, port charges and the potential disruption of operations of companies that depend on the ports for the importation of critical parts and goods for their operations.
- Existence of a system of bottlenecks made possible due to wide discretionary powers of port oﬃcials and the likelihood for such powers to be used to create opportunities for graft and extortion of port users.
- Payments for services not rendered by port agencies including the dredging of waterways by port users, payment to Stevedoring companies without any services being rendered, collection of pilotage fees in areas outside pilotage districts including international waters etc.
- Lack of awareness of port users on the existence of the port agencies SOP.
- Absence of complaints/feedback desks/redress mechanisms and the effectiveness of such where available.
One of the recommendations proposed is the need for experience sharing sessions among Nigerian ports/terminals, customers/users, oﬃcials/oﬃcers, management, government and their West African/European counterparts, in order to enable the Nigerian groups to learn how to build and deploy integrity, anticorruption governance strategies and build a positive business environment going forward.
Specifically, the objective of this MACN event is to launch a series of interventions aimed at promoting transparency and the consistent application of Standard Operating Procedures leading to more predictable (in time and cost) vessel and cargo clearance at the Ports & Terminals.
Stakeholders at the event would also have an opportunity to be part of ongoing collective action to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our ports and terminals.
Details of the Round-Table Session
Date: Tuesday, October 8th, 2019
Venue: The Providence by Mantis Hotel- 12A Oba Akinjobi Way, Ikeja GRA, Lagos (Same Street with Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral by Sobo Arobiodu Roundabout).
Time: 9.30am (Registration starts at 9am)
Expected guests at this event include Directors General/CEOs of Port Agencies, Relevant Regulatory Agencies, The Private sector, Port users as well as the General Public.
Please do not hesitate to contact:
Yinka Johnson (07013715571) email@example.com; and
Kitan Babalola (08067829272) firstname.lastname@example.org
The Convention on Business Integrity (CBI), a Company Limited by Guarantee is the private sector facing arm of the Integrity organisation. CBi was launched in October 1997 and incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in May 2003. The organization was established with the mission of promoting ethical business Practices, transparency and fair competition in the private and public sectors. It builds coalitions and develops sustainable strategies for citizen involvement with government in both sectors.
The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) is a global business network working towards the vision of a maritime industry free of corruption that enables fair trade to the benefit of society at large. Established in 2011 by a small group of committed maritime companies, MACN has grown to include over 100 members globally, and has become one of the pre-eminent examples of collective action to tackle corruption.
The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has decided to delist 20 companies for non-compliance with listing requirements. While 15 of the companies are being delisted for failure to file their quarterly and annual financial statements, five others are being delisted for failure to regularise their listing status after being given time to do so.
Those being delisted for failure to file their financial statements include: Investment and Allied Insurance Plc; Goldlink Insurance Plc; Pinnacle Point Group; Adswitch Plc; Afroil Plc,…. Continue Reading
Nigeria ranked 76th out of 82 countries surveyed in the 2014 version of the Economist’s annual business environment ranking. Nigeria has retained this rank since 2009. The Economist cites corruption, weak infrastructure, deteriorating security and the absence of effective government institutions for Nigeria’s poor performance in the rankings. In a similar vein, a recent survey by Ernst& Young has shown that 88 per cent of the respondents in Nigeria believe bribery and corruption is widespread in the country, compared to 72 percent of respondents who thought so in 2012. More
Non-prompt settlement of claims by insurers has over the years been the bane of insurance growth, penetration and acceptance in Nigeria.
This is in spite of the insurance industry regulatory body, the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, attempts to make prompt claim settlement one of its cardinal objective, and which the commission also flouts as one of its main achievements.
According to some analysts however, many operators seems to have devised newer and more “professional” means of swindling or talking their way out of paying claims, or not paying it in full by negotiating with the insured. Continue Reading
Business for online shopping websites in Nigeria such as Jumia and Konga as well as banks, is set to get a major boost with the decision by PayPal, an international e-commerce payment and money transfer platform, to enter 10 new countries this week, including Nigeria.
PayPal provides online payment alternatives for consumers via mobile phones or personal computers (PCs) in markets often blighted by poor banking penetration and financial fraud.
Rupert Keeley, the executive in charge of Europe, Middle East and Africa region (EMEA) of PayPal, the payment unit of eBay Inc, said in an interview yesterday that the expansion would bring the number of countries it serves to 203. Continue Reading
A LOT has been said about Nigeria being used as dumping ground for fake and substandard products by other countries, especially the Asian countries. Millions of Nigerians had either lost their lives prematurely or maimed permanently as a result of exposure to fake and substandard goods. In the forefront of the fight against this menace is the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), an agency set up to among other mandates provide standards that form the basis for consumer protection, health, safety and environmental concern. Continue Reading
Sixteen states of the federation have raised bonds totalling N520 billion in the last six years without clear outlines on how the funds were used, THISDAY investigation has revealed.
This is against the backdrop of massive unemployment and infrastructural deficit across the country, which the debts could have addressed.
Specifically, the 16 state governments were found to have raised the bonds without their citizens’ understanding of what the funds are meant for. Continue Reading
Indications have emerged that most Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) still charge their customers N3 per N1,000 Commission on Turnover (COT), despite a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) directive which stipulated N2 COT for 2014.
To this effect, the apex regulator has ordered the affected DMBs to refund such illegal fees charged customers over a period of one year.
The order, contained in a circular dated June 11, but posted on June 12, and signed by the Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, CBN, Mr Franklin Ahonkhai.
Specifically, the central bank said some banks had been overcharging customers on the Commission on Turnover in the last few months, while some lenders had also imposed illegal maintenance fees on the CoT-free accounts. Continue Reading