Local Government/CSR; A Mutual Partnership for The Benefit of All
The term Corporate Social Responsibility was made popular in the 1990s in our business environment and has over the years played a huge role of attracting private enterprises in committing their profits to the development of mostly their harbouring/host communities or given back to the society in various forms. The absence of this has led to several hostilities among host communities and organisations.
In the oil rich Niger Delta, the failure or lack of adequate CSR has continually threatened the activities of doing business in the area especially with the major oil companies and has led to losses of both human and material resources which in turn has dealt serious blows even to the Nigerian economy at one point or the other.
Despite these challenges, CSR has been able to provide some laudable landmark projects mostly at the federal and state levels which supposed to be replicated at the local government levels who are presumed to be the closest tier of government to these organisations, however the reverse has always been the case owing to the challenges of local government in meeting with their responsibilities accruing from the constant paucity of funds to them. This in turn has consistently set the duo (organisations and local government) at war paths as the latter drive to generate funds for her operations thereby shredding off the possibilities of having a robust relationship between the host and hosted.
Ajose Adeogun Street in Victoria Island of Lagos State would probably have been constructed by the State owing to the progressive leadership it is endowed with and in turn would have cost good measure of tax payers monies but with Zenith Bank Plc fixing it, it gives both parties the sense of belonging. Also recently the federal government has approved the construction of Oshodi-Apapa Expressway by Dangote group at the cost of tax incentives to the latter which could be seen as CSR.
Businesses operating within the jurisdiction of these local governments have been turned to milk bags for them with their various taxes and levies which includes radio and television rates even where such does not exist which seldomly has had any positive effect on their constituents. Truth be told that the local government need these funds for their operations; however with a well structured arrangement, the businesses will add to infrastructural development which at the long run will have greater and mutual positive impact.
It is now imperative for the local government to further harness the gains of tapping into CSR with businesses in their community development while foregoing some of the taxes , rates and levies and engage businesses on a more productive partnership via CSR.
The local government, the community and businesses withing the area of concern naturally enjoys the comfort which comes with the collaborations.