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NCC, FRC to entrench corporate governance compliance in telecoms

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) have agreed to collaborate to strengthen the level of compliance by players…

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) have agreed to collaborate to strengthen the level of compliance by players in the Nigerian telecommunications sector to the national and sectoral corporate codes of governance in the country.

Speaking during a courtesy visit by the Management and Board of FRC to the Commission in Abuja, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC, Mr. Sunday Dare, who received the FRC team on behalf the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, 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.

He said the NCC believes that sound Corporate Governance is a sine qua non for meaningful growth and economic development, particularly for an industry as dynamic and complicated as telecoms, stressing this was why the NCC issued the Code of Corporate Governance for telecom industry in 2014 and made it mandatory for its larger licenses in 2016.

He noted that the FRC also lunched the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance in 2018 to achieve broadly 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 have the same primary objectives of enhancing corporate performance through adherence to best practice principles, it is natural that there would be areas of divergence, which he said the Commission and FRC can work harmoniously together to address for the overall benefits of the country.

It is our understanding that the National Code will exist simultaneously with sectoral Codes such as the NCC Code, which will now be described as ‘Guidelines’; where conflicts exist between the two Codes, the stricter provisions will apply; and the National Code b FRC gives flexibility for sector regulators such as the NCC to adapt Governance Principles to suit the peculiar needs of the sector,” he said.

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

It is, therefore, necessary that NCC and FRC hold discussions such as this to harmonise positions and agree on key issues such as   the seamless operation/ 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 NCC Code became mandatory, the level of corporate governance compliance among affected telecoms licensees has also increased.

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

According to him, “While we have the national Code, having sectoral code is also recognized; we only need to work harmoniously to ensure we collectively achieve our objective of ensuring that more Nigerians 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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