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.
The move is to ensure that operators in the sector adhere strictly to both the national and sectoral corporate codes of governance.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the management and board of FRC to the Commission in Abuja recently, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management at 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 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 believed that sound corporate governance was essential for meaningful growth and economic development, particularly for an industry as dynamic and complicated as telecoms. According to him, this was why the NCC issued the Code of Corporate Governance for telecom industry in 2014 and made it mandatory for its larger licences in 2016.
He noted that the FRC also launched 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, it was 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 of 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 were very critical for the telecoms industry and therefore require continuous and harmonious engagements between the two organisations to address grey areas.
The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, FRC, Mr. Daniel Asapokhai, who led the delegation to the Commission, commended the NCC, 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 recognised; 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.”