NCC presents telecoms governance code
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has launched a Corporate Governance Code for the Telecommunications Industry in an effort to consolidate on the gains success recorded so far since the historical liberalization of the sector more than a decade ago.
Speaking on the occasion, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah recalled that the journey to getting the code began June last year when the NCC organized the second stakeholders’ consultation on Corporate Governance with Enhancing Stakeholders Responsibility as it theme, adding that the first was consultation was in April of 2012 with Corporate Governance oin the Telecommunications Industry-Compliance with Standards, Processes and Procedures as it theme.
According to him, the forum highlighted the absence of a common code to which all telcos in the country should abide by, adding that to address this gap, the regulator inaugurated the Corporate Governance Working Group (CCWG) in October of 2012 with members drawn from the operators, the NCC and corporate governors.
He said the CCWG focused their activities on providing input for the code in the areas of identifying the corporate governance priorities for the telecommunications sector; considering and agreeing on the target and scope of applicability of the code, that is, which firms the code should apply; considering implementation mechanism of the code’s provisions; conducting stakeholder mapping form the purpose of the proposed code (building on existing frameworks provided by the Stakeholder Management Division of NCC; determining the broad outline of the code; and reviewing the draft of provisions as they were developed.
Juwah said although corporate governance codes globally could take several forms, some are generic or national in scope while others are drawn up for specific groups of firms (sector specific) or designed to address a specific aspect of corporate governance such as board practices, transparency and disclosure standards.
He said while national codes of corporate governance are typically focused on country-specific issues and are aimed at improving and guiding governance practices within a country’s specific legal environment and business context, sector-specific corporate governance codes on the other hand address the specific peculiarities of the affected sector (in Nigeria’s case, telecommunications) that are not typically dealt with under national or broadly-aimed codes.
He said with the growing relevance of corporate governance beyond capital markets where compliance with best practice is enforced through listing rules, sector-specific codes have become increasingly more beneficial in those sectors where private unlisted firms operate.
He said: “Furthermore, the telecommunications sector is of strategic and high impact significance to the economy at a macro level and has considerable reach at the micro level. It is made up of a whole range of operators with diversity in size, scope of operations, asymmetry qualifications, legal and regulatory requirements, capital market activities as well as local and cross border relationships.”
He said the combined factors of the strategic importance of telecommunications and unprecedented growth of the sector with extensive reach across all social and demographic groups in the economy makes it imperative that operators in this critical sector align to uphold a code of corporate governance which is specific to their industry.