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NCC, FRC to toughen corporate governance compliance in telecoms

NCC, FRC to toughen corporate governance compliance in telecoms

Ife Ogunfuwa

The Nigerian Communications Commission and the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria have collaborated to strengthen the level of compliance by operators in the Nigerian telecommunications sector to the national and sectoral corporate codes of governance.

The agreement was reached during a courtesy visit by the Management and Board of FRC to the Commission in Abuja on Thursday.

According to a statement issued by the NCC, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management at the commission, Mr Sunday Dare, who received the FRC team, said the commission was ready to provide its full support and collaboration by working together to entrench the best corporate governance practices in all sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Speaking on behalf the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, Dare said that sound corporate governance was a sine qua non for meaningful growth and economic development, particularly for an industry as dynamic and complicated as telecoms.

According to him, this is the reason the NCC issued the Code of Corporate Governance for the telecoms industry in 2014 and made it mandatory for its larger licensees in 2016.

Dare noted that the FRC also launched the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance in 2018 to achieve the same objectives as the NCC Code on an economy-wide basis.

The FRC Code, however, takes effect from January 2020.

Dare explained that while the two Codes had the same primary objectives of enhancing corporate performance through adherence to best practice principles, it was natural that there would be areas of divergence, which he said the commission and FRC could work harmoniously together to address for the overall benefit of the country.

Dare explained that regulatory certainty and predictability were very critical for the telecoms industry and, therefore, required continuous and harmonious engagements between the two organisations to address grey areas.

“It is, therefore, necessary that the NCC and FRC hold discussions such as this to harmonise positions and agree on key issues such as the seamless operation or implementation of the codes; issues of enforcement of the codes; collaborations between the NCC and the FRC on governance issues generally with particular focus on monitoring, review and stakeholder enlightenment; as well as a process for dealing with other issues that may arise from time-to-time,” he said.

He also informed the FRC delegation that since the compliance with the NCC Code became mandatory, the level of corporate governance compliance among affected telecoms licensees had also increased.

In his comments, the FRC Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Daniel Asapokhai, who led his delegation, commended the NCC for its sectoral code initiative, stressing that increased engagement of the businesses and licensees affected by such code must be strengthened.

He said, “While we have the national code, having sectoral code is also recognised; we only need to work harmoniously to ensure we collectively achieve our objective of ensuring that more Nigerian businesses survive by making them more resilient through corporate governance codes and ultimately ensure that we make our economy more attractive to investors; as such, we need to collaborate more as organisations.”

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