Life is all about services. At every point, you are either given a service or receiving one. It is theoretically and empirically established that services can lead to business as well as economic transformation through direct, indirect, induced and productivity effects.
Hence, quality services delivery cover both the corporate and public space. This is because interactions between both public and private sectors are mutually reinforcing, taking cognizance of the fact that the macroeconomy is a composition of firms (corporate) and government (public).
Services are increasingly important for their direct contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), exports and employment. With the change in the structure of the Nigeria economy from a real sector dominated system to services led economy, services sector has become the largest sector in the economy.
Nigeria, as a country, has made significant progress in its services sector, becoming one of the leading corporate service providers in African continents. The banks, specifically, have registered their footprint in many Africa countries, with the country boasting of a robust Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and others, providing diverse services to businesses and governments.
Experts said, there are immense economic opportunities that must be optimised and unleash for tangible sustainable business and economic deliverables.
On her part, the managing director/lead strategist, TenticP Communications Nigeria Limited, Mrs Nahimah Ajikanle-Nurudeen, had said, non-observance of best practices, due diligence, business ethics and corporate governance are some challenges confronting Nigerian economy where business people, corporate organisations and individuals cut corners by shunning ethics for reasons best known for them.
“When a nation gets it right by doing the right thing, the country can adopt and run with the philosophy of best practices and this will significantly improve the healthcare, education, governance, food security, social harmony and so on,” she said.
Similarly, the former director-general, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry(LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, said, with enormous human resource and the demographic advantage the country is blessed with, it must focus attention on inculcating a culture of professionalism and ethical conduct in service vendors.
Business ethics, he said, is the underlying framework for carrying on a business by adhering to the generally accepted standards of right behaviour, adding that, a business with no genius and standard business ethics will either remain uncompetitive or die off.
Many private sector operators, according to him, have embedded ethical principles in their operations but that the country needs a national consensus on ethical conducts within its corporate and public service space, which will improve the global competitiveness of the Nigeria economy.
While making recommendation, he said: “it is time to walk the talk, writing down ethics and code of conducts on pieces of paper would not necessarily translate into delivery of quality services. We must commit to abiding by the established rules, regulations and code of conducts in our corporate and public endeavours; we must make doing things right our national priority. We need to change our mindset from the entitlement based to a service focus.”
Believing that there is still a need to promote greater awareness of Ethics and the Code of Ethics in the public and private sector, he said, this is the best way of promoting ethical behaviour,
The Way Forward
The government, Mrs Nahimah Ajikanle-Nurudeen pointed out, also needs to encourage private initiatives, such as, this, in promoting best practices, due diligence, business ethics and corporate governance in the country.
Similarly, Dr. Muda Yusuf called for deterrent sanctions for unethical/unprofessional conduct and that there should be sufficient penalty for unethical practices to deter deviation from ethical behaviour.
However, sanctions should be progressive with a view to course correct malpractices, and there should be framework outlining sanctions level, he pointed out.
Stating that professionalism in the public and corporate world should be promoted and to this end, service vendors in the public and private sectors must be encouraged to join a professional body that is related to what they do, he added that, continuous training, inculcating a culture of best practices and ethical conduct should start from the base, a bottom up approach that entails inclusiveness.