The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC has given itself pass mark for introducing the code of corporate governance in Nigerian telecom sector, saying above other things, the code will bring sanity and create more jobs for Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the Commission has reacted to fears expressed in many quarters that the code was not mandatory, with a declaration that depending on the industry situation, the Code may become mandatory after two years.
NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Okechukwu Itanyi who dropped the hint, added that the commission was looking at every means to improve on the growth of the sector.
At the unveiling, the Minister of Communications Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson, represented by Director, Postal and Telecoms Services in the ministry, Mr. John Ayodele, had challenged the commission on effective monitoring system to ensure that decision makers are held accountable even with respect to their positions in the companies.
Johnson however admitted that the key considerations for a successful corporate governance regime typically will consist elements of voluntary commitments and good business practices by the regulated entities.
However, she insisted that “the Code should be backed up by effective monitoring and enforcement processes, and continuously assessing compliance with the basic principles of this Code in line with the best international practices”.
With the unveiling of the industry-specific code, NCC said it has moved a step to enthroning global best practices among the boards of telecoms players, whose actions and inactions have far-reaching effects on the entire telecoms industry.
Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, at the launch of the code, in Lagos, had said that “The code became necessary to reposition the sector to contribute more to the country’s rebased GDP,”
Juwah said the corporate governance principles of accountability, responsibility, transparency, integrity and ethical conduct, independence among others are important for all types of companies operating in the telecommunications industry whether public or private, large or small.
“The telecommunications sector is of strategic and high impact significance to the economy at a macro level and has considerable reach at the micro level. He said this is made up of a wide range of operators with diversity in size, scope of operations, asymmetry qualifications, legal and regulatory requirements, capital market activities as well as local and cross-border relationships,” he said
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Code of Governance Working Group, Dr. Fabian Ajogwu said the Code became necessary to consolidate on the gains of the telecoms sector.
Ajogwu said the Code would help resolve challenges of weak internal controls in organisations; help passive shareholders; avoid conflict of interest; enable effective management information system among others.
“This Code adopts the principles, standards and laws laid down in existing statutes in Nigeria, particularly by the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), the Nigerian Communications Act, among others.
It incorporates the provisions of CAMA as it relates to directors and officers responsibilities in the company. This means that implementation of the new code is directly the responsibility of the Boards of Directors of telecoms companies.
The Code, for instance, says “The Board should take responsibility for implementation of this Code and ensure the adoption of its provisions across the company. The Board should ensure that a Code of Conduct with provisions which align with this new Code as a minimum standard of ethics is developed within the company.”