VCCI Launches Toolkit for Resisting Corruption in Enterprises
“Corruption is best countered by companies learning together and resisting together. The toolkit and the training sessions provide a forum to enable this to happen,” said Dr. Vu Tien Loc, President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), at the launch of the “Toolkit for Enterprises – Practical Steps for Dealing with Corruption” in Hanoi.
This is part of the “Building Capacity of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to Resist Corruption” Project in Vietnam, funded by the British Embassy in Hanoi from the Prosperity Fund of the United Kingdom, with the aim of helping small and medium-sized enterprises deal with barriers and risks arising from corruption. The workshop concurred with the Vietnam visit of Lord Puttnam, UK Prime Minister’s envoy.
According to many countries and international organisations, corruption is causing increasing harm to society and the economy, and small and medium-sized enterprises are most vulnerable. Corruption is one of the six factors affecting the business environment. Businesses around the world spend up to 2 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) on corruption and bribery. Therefore, enterprises are an important element in the fight against corruption.
Mr Nguyen Quang Vinh, Deputy Secretary General of VCCI, said, administrative procedures have been simplified to significantly reduce service time. Improvements in business support service, market entry, and particularly transparency, have been recognised. However, a recent survey conducted by VCCI showed that about 70 per cent of enterprises say that corruption is very serious and hindering corporate growth and competitiveness. Although a number of measures to resisting corruption have been introduced, a collective effort of individuals and organisations is necessary and business plays an important role.
Sharing this viewpoint, Mr Nguyen Tuan Anh, Deputy Director of the Legal Department of the Government Inspectorate of Vietnam, said that the Government Inspectorate has cooperated with the British Embassy to conduct research and gauge the degree of engagement of the business and draft preventive measures. The Penal Code 2015 has strict regulations on corruptive behaviours in enterprises. At present, the Government is developing a programme to engage enterprises in the fight against corruption and provide them with information and tools to prevent corruption risks and resist acts of abetting corruption.
Vinh said, within the scope of project activities, VCCI has chosen and coordinated with local experts, the International Business Leaders Forum – IBLF Global, to adapt the toolkit based on the international experience of the G20 group of nations to benefit the business context of local small and medium-sized enterprises as well as the legal system of Vietnam.
He added that the toolkit, which is concise, easy to understand and useful, provides specific instructions which enterprises can apply and practice to resist corruption in any form, and helps them better manage risks and particularly realise their desire of professionalising their operations, reducing costs, and increasing their competitiveness and profitability towards sustainable development. He believed that when 80 per cent of enterprises use this toolkit, resisting corruption in business will be effective and impact the overall effect of corruption prevention efforts being conducted nationwide.
Mr Brook Horowitz, CEO of IBLF Global and the author of the international version of the toolkit, who is also the project director, said: “Smaller companies are highly exposed and vulnerable to corruption. Unlike larger companies, they don’t have an army of compliance officers to keep an eye on their staff, or internal auditors to review each and every transaction. Our toolkit helps SMEs help themselves to resist internal and external corruption.”
He noted that the toolkit is the first attempt to address the issue of corruption from an SME point of view. It has plenty of useful information about rules and regulations, practical tips and advice about how to resist corruption, pointers about where to get further help and advice. A prominent feature of the toolkit will be both a help desk, run by VCCI, and a “self-help” desk, where SMEs can offer advice to each other online.
Giles Lever, British Ambassador to Vietnam, stressed, “Preventing corruption is not about more red tape, regulation or legal constraints. And resisting it is now about heroics, morals or idealism. It’s about business – clean business, good business, efficient business.”