By Alex Chiejina
LAGOS (Sundiata Post) – The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reiterated the need for strict compliance to the Code of Corporate Governance for the telecoms industry which amongst other things seek to protect the interest of investors and stakeholders in the industry, promote time-valued principles of accountability, responsibility, transparency, integrity and ethical conduct.
Speaking at the Corporate Governance Forum for stakeholders within the telecom industry in Lagos, Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, disclosed that while the Code which was published in 2014 has expanded the frontiers of accountability in the operation of telco companies in the telecoms sector, there exist challenges that affects its full uptake by operators.
“For instance, the Code is declaratory in nature and implementation was initially voluntary across the industry, leading to violations. While compliance with the provisions of the industry Code was initially made voluntary for a period of one year, which has since lapsed, the Commission is gradually moving towards a regime of stricter compliance. To this end, the Commission recently carried out an industry study to assess the level of compliance with the Code,” Prof Danbatta revealed.
He noted that the process of moving from a voluntary compliance regime to a mandatory era necessitated the need for a consultative forum designed to engage industry stakeholders and the public with the outcomes of the study, with a view to retooling the sector corporate governance structure for greater efficiency.
“The truth is, there are many companies/products that we can learn from their experience. We can make our industry and products better, stronger and sustainable by strict compliance with corporate governance frameworks. As we ponder on this, it is will be our joy that in the next 200 years, operators such as Airtel, Etisalat, Glo, MTN, Natcom and all other licensees of the Commission will continue to exist and be vibrant,” the NCC boss added.
Sundiata Post investigations gathered that the liberalization of the telecoms industry opened investment opportunities for both local and foreign companies, contributing significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In contrast to the economy as a whole which regressed to -0.36% in the first quarter of 2016, the telecoms sector contributed, in progressive and real terms, about 8.83% to the GDP in the same period. This represents an increase of 0.5%, relative to the growth in the last quarter of 2015.
Apart from attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in excess of $38 billion and reflating the economy, the telecoms value chain (formal and informal) continues to create a significant number of job opportunities for our teaming youths. Other positive spin-offs include increasing local content and rising income per capita/per head for employees in the sector.