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SMEs must get involved in the anti-corruption fight

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Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) have been urged to identify and find solutions to corruption challenges facing businesses amid COVID-19. They must ensure transparency and accountability in their business practices and keep proper records of their finances to strengthen and sustain their businesses.

Mr Michael Okai, the Project Coordinator of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), made the call at a Multi-Stakeholder Business Integrity Forum (MSBIF). The workshop was organized by GII, the National Chapter of the Transparency International, in collaboration with Ghana Association of Women Entrepreneurs (GAWE) in Kumasi.

The forum was part of GII’s on-going project aimed at creating a platform for some selected women in private businesses, private and public sector institutions, civil society organizations and the media, to identify emerging issues hampering businesses in the country. It was also to create the opportunity for women in business to share ideas and learn from each other on anti-bribery policies that promote transparent and accountable business practices while advocating for enforcement of international and national conventions and laws to enhance honest business operating environment.

Mr Okai took participants through the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and its review mechanism as well as the role of non-governmental stakeholders in the fight against corruption in the review mechanisms. He said UNCAC went beyond bribery and covered a wide range of offences such as embezzlement of public funds, trading in influence, and abuse.

The Convention is the most global anti-corruption treaty and embodies a comprehensive approach to corruption and recognize the importance of both preventive and punitive measures. This, Mr Okai noted, was to promote integrity, accountability and proper management of public affairs and property.

Mr Benedict Doh, Accounts Manager of GII, said corruption was a canker that needed to be extricated from society. He said among other things, corruption hampered the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It causes poverty, economic and social obstacles to the development of the country. Mr Doh noted that corruption harmed SMEs since it increased the cost of doing business and reduced profitability.

He urged SMEs to deal with corruption by reporting it, instilling a culture of integrity in their workers, punishing offenders and joining the support campaign against the menace. Madam Gloria Afriyie, a beautician, said that the forum had helped increase her understanding of promoting good practices in her business and also report any act of corruption to the appropriate quarters for redress.

SourceGNA

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