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June 25, 2024

Reps move to sanction defaulting companies on SCR

Parliamentary System: National Essay Competition deadline extended to July 31

…give MTN, Airtel last warning to appear before commitee

By Gift chapiOdekina, Abuja

The House of Representatives Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility (SCR) on Tuesday moved to enact laws to sanction offenders.

This is also as the committee gave MTN, Airtel last warning to honour its invitation or face the warrant of arrest by the Commitee.

The Chairman of the Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility, Hon Oby Orogbu, stated these during a public hearing on “A bill to regulate corporate social Responsibility in Nigeria and for other related matters” held in Abuja.

According to Orogbu, some companies operating in the country have over time violated the law, hence the need for punishment to be melted at them.

He further frowned at National Communications Commission NCC, MTN and Airtel insisting that they have several times ignored the invitation of the Commitee hence the need for the Commitee to involve its powers by issuing warrant of arrest.

“Section 89, 8 of the Constitution mandates individual companies as invited to make themselves available to parliament but they break the law and I want to tell you Sir, MTN Airtel they take so much from our nation and they feel too big to appear before the parliament we will not tolerate that.

“I want you as a regulatory body to organize those telecommunication companies where they will be meeting between this parliament and the telecommunication, we gave them the powers to operate in Nigeria so to refuse to honour the invitation of the parliament is a no, no, we take exception to it. The parliament is frowning at it and this is an opportunity to say clearly.

“If MTN is here and I have taken all friendly measures to make them understand the need to appear before the parliament but they have refused. If you feel you are responsible then you should appear before the parliament, we want you to be responsible and accountable they operate across the country and they have disrespected the same nation by not housing our invitation.

” We want the Commitee to be socially responsible. If you are providing any social responsibility let us know what you are doing, all we want to know is what you are doing. We are not here to hunt any company. As a public affairs representative of NCC please reach out to these telecompanies and tell them to make themselves available, if they disrespect the parliament it doesn’t indicate anywhere that they are responsible.

“Other companies show up, give account and we even go on oversight but NCC is one company that has given us problems insisting that they are in court which is not acceptable

While making a presentation, Mr Wondi Ndanusa who spoke on behalf of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Governor, said that the CBN is in support of the bill, he however raised concerns about the proposed penalty of imprisonment to defaulting companies, said rather than the penalty, it should be persuasive.

He also said that many companies are faced with a lot of financial burdens and responsibilities.

He further proposed that the SCR should be domiciled in the corporate affairs commission.

In her response, the Chairman of the Commitee said “We have a lot of petitions on these companies causing problems for us in Nigeria, construction companies, oil companies tell companies and over the years they have had their way, so I disagree that we make it persuasive.

“A lot of companies don’t understand that term, they keep defaulting there must be a fine to make them responsible.

Speaking also at the hearing, a representative of the Oil Producers Trade Section, OPTS, Bala Wuoir expressed concern that PIA already mandates oil companies operating in Nigeria to make a financial contribution of three Percent of their profit to NDDC so mandating them do so more will be burdensome on them.

He however called that oil companies should be exempted from the bill.

The chairman of the committee in response insisted that they cannot be exempted, adding that the committee requires them to ring whatever they are doing as a social corporate responsibility to the knowledge of the committee. This bill seeks to provide legal status and guidelines for corporate responsibility for better coordination and regulation.

Speaking earlier the Speaker of the House who was represented by the Leader, Julius Ihonvbere emphasized that the success of the legislative process is dependent on public response and contribution to the public hearing.

He called on stockholders to make meaningful contributions that will make the bill a reality.

” Public hearing is part of our legislative process to engage the citizens in lawmaking, especially because the proposed law has impacts to make on the people. Your robust ideas and expected contribution to the discourse will no doubt shape the outcome of this meeting.