Good corporate citizenship is an essential ingredient for business success in any economy. This involves the responsiveness of Businesses to their legal obligations and objectives established by their stakeholders. While meeting stakeholder expectation may reasonably be within the control of a business, meeting up with legal obligations is an extrinsic factor to the business which has continually belabored business performance with its peculiar set of challenges.
The legal obligation of Businesses are typically established under laws, regulations, guidelines, and directives made and/ or issued by the Government with Regulatory Agencies designated to have oversight. Together these are referred to as compliance obligations for Businesses which take variant forms including: registration, incorporation, monitoring, routine reporting, payment of levies, filing returns, etc.
With repeated emphasis on the importance of good corporate citizenship as an ingredient of business success, it will appear that Businesses are not averse to fulfilling their compliance obligations. However, certain administrative gaps on the part of Government and Regulatory Agencies in relation to compliance obligations have made it a painful process for Businesses to follow through. Some of these gaps include:
1.Multiplicity and duplicity of compliance obligations
2.Limitation of freedom of business decisions
3.Huge cost of compliance
4.Arbitrary penalisation of compliance default, etc.
Improving the Government to business experience
The gaps outlined above, amongst others, have major impact on Businesses. Therefore, while many Businesses may welcome fewer Government regulations, what is often most important to them is simply to spend less time and resources on reporting and compliance.
Like the popular saying goes, ‘it takes two to tango’. All hands must be on deck to achieve the objective of improving the Government to business experience.
On the part of Businesses, regulatory compliance form part of their corporate citizenship obligations. This implies that Businesses must be proactive in identifying these compliance obligations and consistent in delivering on them. Importantly, Businesses must not shy away from engaging with Government and Regulatory Agencies on any unclear issues of compliance or where there is need for any concession for compliance obligations.
On the part of the Government, there is need for a paradigm shift in the way Government views Businesses; not just as corporate citizens and instruments for boosting internally generated revenue but as ‘valued customers’ in the economic system. Therefore, there should be a focus on improving the customer experience for Businesses and reducing friction in Government-business interactions. According to William D. Eggers and Pankaj Kishnani (2016), both of Deloitte’s Center for Government Insights, “adopting a CX [Customer Experience] mindset can unlock a nuanced understanding of business as customer”.
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