By Dike Onwuamaeze
The Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo, has declared that the launch of the Institute of Directors’ Nigeria new Code of Ethics 2020, with the theme: “Doing Good is Good Business- The Ethics Dimension,” will play a vital role in achieving President Muhammadu Buhari’s socio-economic goals in job creation, poverty alleviation as well as to boost investor confidence.
He said this during the launch of the IoD Code of Ethics 2020.
Adebayo explained: “The code of ethics will serve as a strong corporate governance guide and compass for all directors to make decisions that are fair, good, and right in their daily interactions. It will also help in shaping the nation’s public and private sector to be a suitable ground for thriving investment.”
He said the code of ethics clearly laid out values and principles that would preserve and improve public confidence on the boards of companies, ensure sustainability and creating wealth for the benefit of the business and the nation as a whole.
“This is of great important to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment as we continue to address the challenges that discourage investment into Nigeria’s economy,” the minister said.
The Chairman of the Occasion and former Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade, said ethics can never be achieved without the directors that are trustworthy in dealing with other stakeholders and the public.
“The directors must be people who are trusted by other stakeholders. We have a situation whereby if you practice the right ethics, there is a confidence between the director and the stakeholders, who have expectations. This mutual confidence can only be built if the directors and other input makers recognise the fact that they must make themselves accountable for the way they utilise the resources that have been giving to them. This accountability is the platform that we must practice to ensure good corporate governance,” he said.
The President and Chairman of the Council of the Institute of Directors (IoD) Nigeria, Mr. Chris O. Okunowo, said in his welcome address, said the code of ethics would ensure that there is “no longer any tenable excuse of ignorance or lack of knowledge about what to do and how to behave when confronted with ethical challenges.”
Okunowo said the code would serve as a guide for all the institute’s members and its personnel on the practice of sound business ethics and principles as it focused on current realities and challenges faced by directors.
The Chairman of the Ethics Committee of the IoD Nigeria, Mrs. Amina Oyagbola, said the committee was set up in September 2018 and tasked with the responsibility of developing a Code of Ethics for members and staff of the Institute that would embrace sound business ethics and good corporate governance in line with the values of the institute and its motto of “Integrity and Enterprise.”
Oyagbola, observed that in the light of recent corporate failures, corporate fines of some blue chip organisations and the gross mismanagement of some public institutions, the code of ethics could not be more apt and relevant.
She said the code consists of a set of principles aimed at improving and guiding the governance practices of organisations in Nigeria and should be, “read in conjunction with applicable laws, any relevant rules, regulations, best practices and the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance 2018.”
The Chairman of Polaris Bank, Mr. Muhammad Ahmad, who was also the lead speaker at the event, said good ethical practices in business and personal life is needed in Nigeria to drive good corporate governance in both the public and private sectors.
Ahmad said that the IoD’s code of ethics set out clearly the values and principles that should guide organisations and directors in order to increase public confidence, ensure sustainability and create wealth for the benefit for the business and the society as a whole.
The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, advocated for a reward system that would encourage the directors to practice good ethical standards.