We commend the initiative of the NCC in actually conducting this sensitisation workshop and it is definitely commendable and progressive of the Commission. We’re very happy to hear the EVC that a lot of the recommendations would be incorporated into making the code even much better than the model code it is today.
OYERONKE OYETUNDE, General Manager, Regulatory Affairs, MTN
I think it’s a good initiative that the NCC has come up with this; because I was part of the committee that looked at the code and developed it along with other industry players and of course with the NCC and some consultants. What we see today is a good opportunity that the NCC has used to sensitise people about the code and I also like the fact that there have been some very useful comments and the EVC making a commitment that the NCC will look into the comments made and this is a good development for the industry.
Having a code to govern industry players is not something that is alien. It is something that is being practised in other parts of the world and this is telecoms specific and I think it is basically to get industry players to focus strictly on performing the best corporate governance practices ethically and of course this will give investors the confidence that things are being done properly in the industry and in the country; this is a way of attracting investment and with some little changes I think it will become a perfect code.
Tweaking the code: I think it’s important to look at the 15-year tenure that has been talked about, because it is very critical and like the representative from the Financial Reporting Council had mentioned, it is important to look at who has the right and how the tenure affects corporate governance negatively. But if you don’t have any of those then why do you have it included? NCC should consider making some amendments in that regard. In certain companies you could have some directors that have spent over 15 years, so what happens in that instance and with this there could be an impact because some of these people are very experienced too, have done quite well for their companies and provided a lot of guidance and contribution to the industry. I’m not speaking for them but I think it may be premature to say such people should step down. We hope the NCC will look into these issues.
IKENNA IKEME- Director, Regulatory and Corporate Social Responsibility, 9Mobile
The code itself as it stands is not perfect but it’s good enough for the industry to adopt, with some minor changes and adjustments. Comments and deliberations were presented and I think what the NCC has done is a good job and to get it from where it was as a draft to where it is right now as an industry code is commendable.
As an industry we need to think how we can improve our businesses during this tough economic times and anything that can help; especially the code of corporate governance, is a step in the right direction.
On the issue of tenure I have a different opinion but I think this is one that the NCC can take on board and also the issue of the mixing of the audit and risks committee. But I think these aspects are semantics rather than the real process. We need to start to adopt the corporate governance code in its entirety and yes, we’ll find some areas that need to be changed or tweaked but I think if we don’t adopt the code we’ll see quite a few more companies not surviving and we want those that have grown over the last 10 years to survive.
We have one operator that is still undecided and that is a shock to the industry. NCC is standing on a good place to get operators to begin to adopt good behaviour. It won’t be easy, but it’s doable.
Implementation of the code will depend on the political will of the companies and industry players. Are they ready to implement some things? Are there low hanging fruits and those that are a bit more difficult? They might need to engage the NCC to see how they can come to a reasonable win-win situation.
OLUSOLA TENIOLA, President ATCON