Most businesses in Nigeria still acts strictly in terms of profit and loss alone, this is not so strange since corporate organizations in Nigeria are hardly familiar with the concept of community relations or are they aware of what their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) is all about. The few ones which can be said to have come across the concept see CSR as an affair for multinational corporations especially oil companies operating in rural areas. This perception of corporate organizations, therefore, needs re-orientation, urgently. However, could it be said that CSR amounts to being environmentally sensitive on the part of the corporate or government leaderships?
Most companies shy away from their social responsibilities to the society because they see it as the act of charity. A company’s civil responsibility includes participation as a good neighbour, promotion of a healthy outlook of public affairs by employees. Therefore, organizations should act before social problems become more serious and costly to correct.
At the 2015 Class of MMS Plus Woman of Fortune Hall Fame recently in Lagos, CSR was discussed extensively as a tool for social and cultural development with focus on women empowerment in work places by corporate organizations and government establishments, and the need to re-integrate Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as the social responsibility of all law abiding citizens.
Otunba Kunle Folarin who was represented by Mr. Bolaji Sunmola at the event, commented on the need for the soft side of maritime news in the industry to be able to push through, a vacuum which MMS Plus has been able to fill.
He said, “CSR in the industry should focus more on women because the industry is already male dominated. The industry forget to pay attention to women development but women and gender issues should be on the forefront of any organization because our government is gender sensitive. Most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are designed towards women development and empowerment which must be sustained through the right mechanisms.”
Mrs. Chinwe Ezenwa, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Le Look Limited said, “Today’s event was fantastic, it represents empowerment, capacity building, trust, I do not think there is too much segregation of women in the industry like before , I will not say that , rather the segregation witnessed in work places is women against themselves there is nothing like segregation any more, we limit ourselves as women , because the sky is the limit, we have to fight our battles, it is a must to try and touch the lives of people around you, mostly women because when you educate a woman you are building a nation.”
The CEO and Co-founder of The African Gas Association (TAGA) Ms. Anne Etoke enthused, “I really feel the theme of today touched a core in me because as far as CSR is concerned, that is one of my huge visions in the African Gas Association.
“I am always looking for avenues to give back to the community where our oil and gas company sprout from. I have adopted several orphanages, I am looking into widows and I am trying to see how we can work together with regulators to see how we can put down some policies which can encourage more oil and gas companies to provide infrastructures like roads, hospitals and to give back to these host communities where they explore oil gas from.” She said.
The founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Chief Boniface Aniebonam said, “CSR is something that addresses a lot of issues, other than waiting for government. The role the Nigerian Maritime Administration Safety Agency (NIMASA) played in trying to assist displaced persons is commendable because we cannot leave everything for the government especially as it concerns people who are distressed.
“Also, in the organization of NAGAFF, we try as much as we can to see how we can help people who have problems. Sometimes we even go to the ports to clean it up in terms of environmental cleanliness as a social responsibility, so, CSR is a collective responsibility that calls on individuals and corporate organizations to join the government to makes the society work rather than waiting for the government to do everything. MMS Plus is quite ahead in trying to be in tune with the evolving changes especially in the mantra of change of the Nigeria government.” He stressed.
The demand on organizations to be socially responsible has broadened but the argument still rages on about how socially responsible they should be. Society expects their government and corporate organizations to be responsible to the needs of the society and as the expectations of the society towards them to help solve different problems and create a better quality of life and a more desirable community continues to beam on the unresponsive benefactor there will always be cases of youth restiveness.
Government and corperate organizations should act before social problems become more serious (take for instance, the growing number of unemployed youths in the camps of IDPs) and costly to correct, because the society will eventually recognize them for their CSR to the society and they will benefit at the long run.