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Promoting Integrity Implementation Initiative in Business

The Vietnam Office for Business Sustainable Development (SDforB) under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) hosted a meeting to launch the Workshop “Enhancing Integrity Implementation Initiative in Business - Project 12” in Hanoi. The event aimed to introduce the action programme for identifying main issues of businesses in consistency, transparency and consultation of stakeholders in promoting integrity implementation in business and encouraging the involvement of the business community, organisations and agencies for the programme.
Speaking at the workshop, Dr Vu Tien Loc, VCCI President, affirmed that, advocating the development of a multi-sector market economy, the Party and the State have recognised and encouraged the fair development of all economic sectors, including the private sector. In the past year, with the support of the Government and by deeper and broader international economic integration activities, the private sector has made great progress in both scale and quality. However, that positive development also contains potential negative signs and one of negative acts that appear in the private sector is corruption and bribery. This issue is very complicated and unpredictable. Corruption in the private sector is breaking operating principles of the economy, forming nefarious business practices, undermining the competitiveness of enterprises in particular and of the economy in general. Especially, the lack of transparency in private banking agencies and financial institutions will cause negative effects on the economy.
According to a survey by VCCI, 68 percent of private enterprises admitted to pay kickbacks to win deals with State-owned enterprises (SOEs). Up to 70 percent of such 68 percent of respondents admitted to commit active and voluntary bribing. In addition, up to 60 percent of companies surveyed said that informal costs are quite expensive and 57 percent said informal costs give rise to an inequitable business environment for enterprises.
Mr Florian Beranek, Lead Expert Social Responsibility at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), said risks and losses caused by corruption in the business environment are still undervalued. For businesses, corruption is not only known as bribery taking or giving but also includes lacking transparency in recruitment, no information provided to employees or other acts. Common corruption phenomena are internal fraudulences within a company, from share-out and bribery between the parent company and its subsidiaries, between management tiers using common properties for personal purposes to the appointment of trusted persons in important positions in that company.
Therefore, preventing corruption in the private sector has become an urgent issue for stable economic and social development. The construction, deployment and implementation of anti-corruption programmes are very important. The Action Program "Enhancing Integrity Implementation Initiative in Business - Project 12” is a good example.
Mr Nguyen Quang Vinh, General Director of the Office for Business Sustainable Development (VCCI) a Representative of Global Compact Network in Vietnam, said the construction and implementation of the Action Programme “Enhancing Integrity Implementation Initiative in Business - Project 12” is very meaningful to State agencies, organisations and the business community.
VCCI President Vu Tien Loc also emphasised that the involvement of many actors, such as the business community, the government, business associations, social organisations and media is an important factor to eradicate corruption and exercise integrity. However, to promote the success of this process, it is necessary to have collective initiatives, pioneering organisations and businesses with strong commitments, especially cooperation with the government and other social organisations as VCCI. The encouragement of central and local government agencies is also seen as a driving force for exercising corporate integrity.
Mr Florian Beranek recommended not thinking of anti-corruption as rocket science or impossible to do in current context, any enterprise could take action tomorrow by a simple way: being honest and transparent in operations. This is one of four subjects of UN Global Compact which encourages businesses to follow to be sustainable.
Emphasising the importance of business in anti-corruption and integrity implementation, he added that, in addition to efforts of government agencies, the business community also needs to join hands to perform integrity and fight corruption. Collective actions require sustained cooperation of stakeholders like businesses, government agencies and social organisations towards a fair business environment and reduced corruption and bribery risks.
Following the success of the initiative “Integrity and Transparency in Business Initiative for Vietnam (ITBI)” carried out by the Business Office for Sustainable Development (SDforB) under VCCI and responding to the direction of Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to the 12th Anti-corruption Dialogue themed "Roles of businesses and the public sector in anti-corruption”, VCCI is assigned to coordinate with relevant agencies to launch the National Action Plan “Enhancing Integrity Implementation Initiative in Business - Project 12” to realise the National Strategy for Anti-corruption to 2020 and to (i) support and promote the Vietnamese business community to exercise integrity in business , and (ii) propose legal framework policies to build a healthy, corruption-free business environment.
Ha Vu -VBF