By WILLIAM JIMOH
The President of Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria (SCGN), Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, has enjoined companies quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, to imbibe tenets of good corporate governance, saying that it brings about competitiveness and helps businesses to be more efficient.
He made the observation while addressing stockbrokers during a courtesy visit to the stock exchange and to trade closing bell in Lagos.
He, however, noted that there has been significant improvement in compliance to corporate governance rules by quoted companies over the last few years, attributing the development to mutual partnership between the society and the NSE’s management.
According to him, the Nigerian Stock Exchange is benchmarking itself with global best practices and SCGN is working in the same direction to attain the desired result, which is to ensure that companies not only observe the regulations, but also imbibe tenets of corporate governance, transparency, accountability, probity and honesty in their dealings.
Speaking further, Osunkeye noted that SCGN currently has persuasive codes, rules and regulations while the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the NSE see to sanctioning of erring companies through their oversight functions.
“The Nigerian Stock Exchange is benchmarking itself with global best practices and we are getting there with significant compliance on the part of the companies. The new management has put a lot of rules and regulations in place to help companies embrace tenets of corporate governance and this has resulted in significant improvement in the system.
“The rules are there for people to observe but more importantly, we want people to imbibe it rather than just observe them, to make it part of their corporate life, businesses and personal life. This is because when they improve on their corporate governance, it will bring about competitiveness and help businesses to be more efficient.
“Observing the rules is what we want; we want to ensure that companies comply with corporate governance principles and that is why we run training courses in order to help improve the practice in the boardroom and also to lead the practice as individual directors of companies.
“If your quarterly or annual reports are delayed, you will be penalised and sometimes, you may have to pay fine. This has also helped the system a lot since companies now know that the regulators are very serious with their regulations,” he said.
He added that just as embracing corporate governance codes is good for the system in general, it is also good for companies as it gives them competitive edge, attract investors and results in additional premium.
Apart from the training for companies, SCGN also holds conferences where they invite companies both listed and unlisted to round table where corporate governance issues are discussed for better enlightenment of the operators.