With the current economic challenges and strained financial access that have besieged private organizations due to market uncertainty, unstable foreign exchange policy, government’s flip-flop financial policies, higher taxation, unstable foreign exchange rate, corruption and so on, it has become difficult for corporate organizations to dish out money for a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project in a community which does not give anything back in return. For this reason, CSR is projected as gradually becoming obsolete and transforming into the Corporate Social Welfare Program (CSWP) where both parties, i.e., the public and the corporate organization gain while the scope of social service is entrenched.
Essential services are a necessity to our daily living; it is imperative for service providers to look beyond their field and think beyond their box in solving common social problems while increasing profit. As far as basic public needs are concerned, essential services through private sectors have been extremely successful and have helped to solve monumental social problems.
This has helped the economy to grow and encouraged entrepreneurs and investors to tap into our huge market potentials. The private sector is versatile and expected to be more productive with the aid of technology. The public sector growth in Nigeria is a mirage because of corrupt individuals that have no sense of direction and ability to change the society positively. A nation deserves the kind of leadership the citizens promote; the Nigerian society encourages and celebrates corrupt leaders who have no sense of guilt or shame.
The Banking, Telecom, Oil & Gas, Entertainment, Hospitality industries have been driving the Nigerian economy and have generated employment more than other sectors. Nigeria’s economy has not experienced major breakthroughs that can put the country on the development path. The demand for an enabling commercial environment in Nigeria was as a result of the desire of the people and their hunger for socio-economic growth that will project the country as one of the growing economies in the world. As the economy grows, locusts and canker worms also grow with it, making it difficult to achieve societal growth and development. The Nigerian commonwealth is being devoured by the politicians, which makes it difficult to reckon with the purported growth recorded since it cannot be sustained due to corruption.
It is a fact that the Government’s primary responsibility is to protect life and property, the rights and freedom of its citizen, to provide basic essential services for the people, provision of security, conducive environment for business to grow, provision of basic health care facilities, provision of social amenities and infrastructure, qualitative education for all citizens and to protect the nation from external aggression.
Governments at the state and federal levels are insensitive to the plight of the people; the hardship in the country is becoming unbearable. Nigeria is experiencing depression both social, security and economic wise; which recently made companies laid off their staffs and mill down spending, including on CSR programs. Creating a secure and conducive environment for all and sundry is now beyond the government’s capacity because they are unable to provide basic services for the people, help businesses to thrive, reduce unemployment, repair bad roads, eradicate epileptic power supply and so on. The government at the state level embarks on bogus projects that have no economic benefit to their states and the country at large, in fact, the country is nearly at the brink of collapse.
The Need for Corporate Social Welfare Services
Presently, we have a number of corporate organizations that are directly or indirectly rendering welfare services; in a few more years, more social welfare services will be rendered by private organizations which will increase their capital base, boost their sales and make the society a better place. Sponsoring dancing competitions or reality TV shows on national television are not CSR; they are known as branding and corporate publicity. CSR is practiced in accordance with the law; it is stipulated that a company must be responsible towards the development of the host community as far as it makes a profit.
Corporate Social Welfare Service transcends a community or a group of people but has the potential to benefit great numbers of people that are in serious need of social aid in order to improve their standard of living, through which they pay for the service charge. We shall be revealing various personalized welfare services that will become phenomenal and keep businesses growing on equilibrium bases. This type of service is discreet and will bring succor to people’s yearning whereby the provider attracts more customers while attempting to solve problems. This idea is also attached to policy making and influencing the political class, either by persuasion or by conspiracy, in order to ensure it becomes a Public Policy.
Corporate Social Welfare Services are not Privatization or Public Private Partnership but are social services designed to help where governments are not performing or have failed to discharge their duties. Governments are spending beyond their limited and enumerated constitutional powers because of concentrated benefits and dispersed cost which can be associated with vested interests. When governments are unable to provide basic infrastructure, it means there are issues with their revenue and proper utilization of public funds.
When a government brings together a public-private partnership to execute a project, it means that the public’s rights over the particular project have been divided and an avenue for manipulations has been created. Nowadays, we have seen several public projects being handled by corporate organizations because of lack of funds. Where proper public tender and project evaluation is done, it becomes difficult for vested interest and manipulations.
In a civilized society where there is transparency, a public-private partnership is the best and much-needed relationship to reduce the social burden on government, it provides much needed social services, brings innovation into public service and performance in governance. It makes development faster, it helps in the proper management of public infrastructure, it fosters a new approach to solving social problems, it enables a competitive society, it helps in job creation and reduction in unemployment, it helps to grow businesses and to make reasonable public policies.
The Ethics of Personalized Corporate Social Welfare Service
There is a range of services provided by the government and private organizations; they are aimed at creating a more effective public-private partnership and empower more private organizations, build stronger communities, and promote equality and opportunities. Social services include the benefits and facilities provided for the citizens, such as education, food subsidies, health care, job training, subsidized housing, adoption, community management, policy research, and lobbying.
Corporate Social Welfare Service is not a public-private partnership or corporate social responsibilities but a personalized service of a corporate organization to solve social problems while making some amount of money in return. With the spate of national economic disorder and incessant taxation from government agencies, CRS is becoming burdensome and unrealistic because of financial constraints faced by small and big corporations. Only a ‘you-win-and-I-win’ approach can provide an effective substitute for ineffective CSR. The rise of Corporate Social Welfare Services will help boost the concept of social service and help corporate firms achieve basic social objectives. It will help the corporate organizations reach more people, solve more problems and get returns. It is a two-way gain, service with flexible conditions to the public, a mass token generated back to the company’s pocket which makes a huge profit for the company.
Influencing Public Policy
The Nigerian government at all levels has run out of ideas on delivering social services. The willpower is also missing while every successive government has tried to milk out the public fund by introducing different ideas and policies that are not working. The implementation and enforcement process of those policies are very poor because those ideas were either stolen or high-jacked from different people; it can never be achieved without the input of the owners.
Now, this is a wake-up call to corporate organizations to start influencing public policies and to ensure that politicians are on their toes to provide or approve basic social service initiatives to the people. There is a connection between private and public institutions, both provide services through policy formulation; while private is to maximize profits and enlarge their services, the public institutions are designed to meet the need of the masses. Where government goals are driven by profit, there is a private initiative at the corner propelling the public officers which we are seeing in our present day society, i.e., construction of toll bridges and roads, rail system, the building of schools and so on.
The government initiative of making money is as a result of increasing revenue to provide basic services, encouraging proper management of public facilities, and also the conspiracy of creating a secret platform to make money for the principal public officers even after leaving office. Today, private organizations drive the economy and have become the mechanism of policy for the government. What good this does for our society today is that essential services will be available on time; it might be expensive but it will surely be sustained. The possible negative effects are: the public will pay more for essential services, and the government will relax from providing affordable services. The interests of the corporate organizations will be government’s priority while they will have setbacks in providing basic services and fulfilling their campaign promises.