The Convention on Business Integrity (CBi) has launched a unique web-based solution that prepares Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to meet COSO 2013 standards on internal controls and to establish certifiable anti-bribery, anti-corruption standards (ABAC).
The launch which is in collaboration with ActionAid and Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), had in attendance key stakeholders in the MSME landscape.
Most analysts agreed that beyond access to finance, MSMEs were faced with difficulties in relation to access to market, technology, information, infrastructure and indeed support services and a compliance framework which the platform helps to address.
In his keynote address, Chief Executive Officer, Convention on Business Integrity (CBi), Mr Soji Apampa said that MSMEs in Nigeria were severely challenged by issues of undercapitalization, lack of records, difficulty to the access to bank credit and the high cost of doing business.
He added that irregular power supply, inability to separate personal finances from business, corruption, infrastructural inadequacies like bad roads and government’s lack of interest in the sector were also among a host of other challenges facing MSMEs.
He, however, noted that MSMEs can distinguish themselves from other organisations by using compliance with international standards as a competitive edge and subscribing to the COSO 2013 framework. According to him, donor organizations as well as the development banks have had cause to stop MSMEs from participating in their activities because of integrity issues such as falsification of their year of incorporation, doctoring the value of reference contracts and tampering with the experience of key personnel, in a process called debarment.
Presenting the business model of the platformethicsQED.cbinigeria.com, Information Technology (IT) Manager, Integrity Organization Ltd (Gte), Mr Maduka Okafor explained that the value proposition of the platform was to enable MSMEs to understand ethical and anticorruption standards.
He said the platform will also serve as a marketplace of service providers who provide regulatorily interface services and also helping MSMEs internally assess themselves and show credible evidence of conformance with standards and regulations.