FRC, private sector to harmonise corporate governance code

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The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria is collaborating with the Organised Private Sector to harmonise the Corporate Governance code to ensure it becomes an acceptable guiding rule for businesses in Nigeria.
This is amid the controversies surrounding the recently released National Code of Corporate Governance.
The nation’s OPS comprises the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture as well as the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria.
The body made this known to newsmen while on a courtesy visit to the Council’s corporate headquarters in Lagos to seek clarifications on certain areas of the code.
Speaking at the Council’s office, the Director General, NECA, Mr. Olusegun Oshinowo, who led the delegation, said the group was in support of the NCCG, which is to ensure transparency, accountability and fairness to all stakeholders in the business sector of the economy.
He said that NECA but was in the Council’s office to seek clarifications on certain aspects of the code.
  He highlighted some of those areas to include, among others, transitional period for the enforcement of the code, the number of non-executive directors to be appointed into companies’ board, constitution of Joint Audit by entities with at least N10billion capital and appointment of consultants.
 He urged the FRC to look into them with a view to addressing them in such a way that the inputs of the stakeholders would reflect in the code.
Responding, the Chief Executive Officer of the FRC, Mr. Jim Obazee, said the Council was working tirelessly with stakeholders to ensure the code yields the desired result of entrenching transparency and accountability in the way businesses were done through its emphasis on more disclosures in financial statements in order to build investors’ confidence in the nation’s business environment.
He noted that some of the giant strides the FRC made in the past, which were hitherto criticised in the beginning, were later commended for achieving the desired results.
Among them were “the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standard as benchmark for stating financial statements in the country; and the issuance of FRC registration numbers to those who sign entities’ accounts to give credence to the accounts.”
This, he said, was to ensure that in the event of any mis-statements, such individuals are “held responsible through suspension of their numbers instead of the entire organisations they represent,” the statement read.
 Obazee assured them that the areas they have raised issues about would be looked into as the code goes through further restructuring, adding that since the code was not a law, it would not require rigorous process of amendment if there are genuine reasons for it to be rejigged for the good of the nation’s business environment.
 Also speaking, the Chairman of the steering committee of the NCCG, Mr. Victor Odiase, said corporate governance codes world over determine the critical destination of investments.
He decried the high level of business ownership concentration in the country, stressing that, “if we must attract the desired local and Foreign Direct Investment to move the country’s economy out of recession and make it vibrant, there is need for deliberate efforts to de-concentrate entities’ ownership, which the corporate governance code focuses on addressing as one of the key areas to attract investors,”