UN body, others, inaugurate project to boost SMEs in Nigeria

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The United Nations Global Compact Network Nigeria (UNGC-NN), has inaugurated a Small-Medium Enterprise Anti-Corruption and Corporate Governance Standards Project.

The UNGC-NN, said the project, also known as SME Future-Forward Project, would help to boost business growth in Nigeria.

Mr Kelvin Nwachukwu, Communications Manager of UNGC-NN, who disclosed this in a statement on Thursday in Beijing, said the project was inaugurated in partnership with Integrity Organization/Convention on Business Integrity (CBi), with the support of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).

Nwachukwu said: “CBi and UNGC-NN, in partnership with FRC, have inaugurated the SME Future-Forward Project, funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

“This project aims to set standards for corporate governance, ethics, and sustainability to guide direction, control and management of SMEs in Nigeria.

“To enhance their competitiveness and achieve long-term success and value creation, responsibly and sustainably; as it is estimated that SMEs constitute 96 per cent of businesses in Nigeria.

“These enterprises are largely poorly governed, making it difficult to secure the capital needed for growth.

“Moreover, Nigeria’s challenging business environment creates pressures to adopt practices where complacency, shortcuts, corruption, nepotism, and discrimination flourish.”

According to him, such practices create a cyclical effect that compromises SMEs’ ability to sustain high-performance outcomes, hobble ability to source funds, and erode capacity to compete in African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and beyond.

He therefore said that the SME project was designed to change such a narrative, by using a data-driven approach.

“CBi, UNGC-NN and FRC would through this project develop scalable framework to enhance good corporate governance, anti-corruption, sustainability and social equity inclusive practices, that would lead to a value creation strategy.

“Also for all SMEs in Nigeria to increase their competitiveness, survival, growth, and succession during the project’s initial implementation, participating Future-Forward Companies will receive hands-on, personalized guidance and assistance, to comply with the standards.

“Given the pivotal role SMEs play in driving Nigeria’s economic development, poverty reduction, job creation, economic emancipation, the project seeks to prove that it is possible and profitable for small businesses to do the right thing, the right way, in the Nigerian marketplace,” Nwachukwu added.

The UNGC-NN, is one of the 74 local network country offices of the UN Global Compact, designed to mobilize local movements of sustainable businesses to scale their collective impact.

NAN also reports that CBi, seeks to create and strengthen social-responsible businesses, whose transactions are predictable, consistent and ethical.

On the other hand, FRC is a government-owned agency with mandate to develop, publish and regulate public interest entities’ financial reporting standards, to ensure good corporate governance within public and private sectors.

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