Business Integrity Country Agenda (BICA) Research Report was a main theme of debate within the virtual conference ”Corporate Governance – From a Buzzword to a Strategic Pillar for Sustainable Development”, on October 28, 2020, organized by AmCham Romania in partnership with ZF.
TI-Romania was represented by Victor Alistar, TI-Romania Board of Directors member, who brought into debate two of the Business Integrity Country Agenda (BICA) assessment report recommendations: creating a National Compliance Register and the Integrity certification for companies.
We present below some of the key messages pointed out by Victor Alistar during the AmCham virtual conference:
”The BICA report shows that, in fact, in Romania it is a sector problem, not a lack of good examples. There are many situations in which we identify a good practice already adapted to the Romanian mindset. The BICA report was elaborated with EBRD funding and was intended to be a parallel analysis of the business environment in Romania and Serbia. Romania because it is an EU member, has a set of standards that must be met, and Serbia because it is a candidate country, so it is lagging behind in terms of regulations. But as a cultural space we are two similar states.”
”The most important aspect that we’ve noticed during the research is that we have a serious problem in assuming a state of fact. The general perception is that the public sector is the worst regulated. The research shows that public sector gets 67 points out of 100, the business sector - below 30 points, the non-governmental sector and the media get about 30 points. So, exactly the opposite of the majority perception, that's why it's an sector issue, and if we go on the idea of sustainable development, we cannot ignore the goals we want to achieve in the next 5-10-15 years, but at the same time, the factors that contribute to achieving those goals must also be taken into account.”
Solutions for a sustainable development of the business environment:
- The National Compliance Register
One of the BICA recommendations refers to the development of a National Compliance Register, a solution that could successfully respond to the difficulties that small and medium-sized companies have in trying to keep up with all the requirements of the state, of administrative inspections, etc.
A National Compliance Register imply that, on a public portal, gov.ro - for example, the regulatory, monitoring and inspection structures establish and update the compliance obligations, so that an entrepreneur has clear rules that must be accomplished and concretely perceive that integrity and honesty are a long-term investment.
- The Integrity certification for companies - Increased transparency can be rewarded by being acknowledged in a public whitelist
Another BICA recommendation refers to the Integrity Certification, to be made by business associations, or even by the government, and which should go from the formal area to the area of adapting the Romanian environment to the idea of self-management of industries. It is not enough to have the ISO mechanism or the CAF mechanism. More effort is needed in the direction of changing behaviors and mentalities.
We must recognize in these actions not terror or fear of control, but the intrinsic benefit of integrity. For example, offering extra points in public procurement processes to companies that have the clean business label.
Integrity thus becomes a tangible investment, to compensate for ethical dilemmas and corrupt behaviors, leading to isolation and dissolution of the latter.