The Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire has charged the private sector players in Nigeria on the need to step up in the delivery of Corporate Social Responsibility efforts for the benefits of their various stakeholders and the general society.
The presidential aide gave the charge while delivering a keynote remark at the SERAs CRS annual awards in Lagos recently.
According to her, effective CSR engagement should not only be focused on fostering and strengthening the relationships of organisations with their direct stakeholders, but also help in acceleration of the overall quest to improve the health and wellbeing of especially the vulnerable mass.
This, she noted, would also be in line with the determination of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to improve the lot of vulnerable Nigerians.
“In re-echoing the resolve of President Muhammadu Buhari, I would like to use this opportunity as a call to action to revitalise our collective resolve to improve the lives of the poor”, the aide noted.
She therefore called for the partnership of the private sector with the Federal Government for the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals through the platform of CSR.
“This is a responsibility that is cross-cutting, one that needs a multi-sectoral approach in view of the multi-dimensional nature of poverty. There is therefore the need to work together and build synergies in order to reduce vulnerabilities, build resilience, reduce inequality gap and to scale up social protection for those who fall at the margins of the society.
“As you may be aware, CSR refers to the social demands on corporate entities to initiate, partner and add value to the host communities (i.e. ploughing back to the communities where it conducts business the much needed social and infrastructural amenities).
“It also describes effort made by corporate organisations to improve society and contribute towards sustainable development, as well as initiatives taken by such organisations to evaluate and take responsibility for their impact on a number of issues ranging from human rights, to protecting the environment, making efforts to address social problems such as poverty, deprivation, hunger etc,” she said.
Orelope-Adefulire noted that CSR is about an organisation taking responsibility for the impacts of its decisions and activities on all aspects of the society, community and environment, and insisted that it is more than just donating money.
“It’s about contributing to the health and wellbeing of society, operating transparently and ethically. As a public valued organisation, social responsibility and public value must remain at the core of the mission for all. Organisations should be driven by public value and a desire to impact positively in the lives of the citizens at all levels.”
She further added that in keeping faith with the SDGs Agenda, Nigeria, under the administration of President Buhari, has kept faith with delivering social goods to the people.
“In doing this, emphasis is on bringing about significant, positive change that will substantially address the various pressing social needs of the citizenry. Bearing in mind that effective and efficient social impact can only be achieved through a systematic implementation of carefully designed policies and programmes, the government has continued to build and forge strategic partnerships with all critical stakeholders.”
Some of the high-impact initiatives targeted at the lower-end of the society, according to the presidential aide, include: an ambitious Social Investment Scheme targeted at the extremely poor and vulnerable, government enterprise and empowerment programme for unemployed youths and women economic empowerment, N-Power programme for job creation for the youths as well as Women’s Economic Empowerment Scheme and the Conditional Grant Scheme, which has continued to function as a social development project at the sub-national level.