ICSAN Urges Uniform Corporate Governance Code Among Public, Private Sectors

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The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSAN) has urged the public sector to imbibe the same corporate governance code as the private sector.

ICSAN’s President, Mr Bode Ayeku, told newsmen in Lagos on Wednesday that this would help in achieving the desired economic development of the nation.

Ayeku said that there was a need for both sectors to be regulated by the same practices and rules aligned with best global practices to engender growth.

“Irrespective of the sector one belongs to, it is important to be guided by the same code and principles, and it is a good thing we Aye members in both sectors.

“In every economy, we have the private and public sectors and it is only when both sectors are doing the right thing that the desired economic development can be achieved.

“We are unanimous that there must be a code of corporate governance for the public sector and now that the Financial Regulatory Council is done with that of the private sector, we expect them to build on same for the public sector,’’ he said.

Ayeku revealed plans to change the name of the Institute, subject to the approval of the government, to accommodate and reflect the evolved professional role of secretaries and administrators.

He said that the change was to clear the air of any ambiguity as to who secretaries and administrators were.

“Secretaries are not typists or tea makers, and because the name has been used in different ways, confusion exists.

“Secretaries are guardians of organisations and the name change would enable stakeholders to know the added responsibility and expectations of a company secretary.

Speaking on fairness, transparency, accountability and disclosure, the ICSAN president lauded the finance transparency bill, disclosing that a template for reporting all corporate governance evaluation was in the pipeline.

“We are working with the FRC and the Nigerian Stock Exchange to develop a draft which is currently being circulated for analysis.

On education, Ayeku told newsmen that it had started partnering with various tertiary institutions to imbibe principles of corporate governance early in the minds of the youth.

In addressing internal crisis as observed among leaders of tertiary institutions, he urged the National University Commission (NUC) to create a template guiding all universities, subject to review and publishing, to address these challenges.

“What is required of the educational sector is to have a more robust, best practices template that should be imbibed by all universities to tackle and handle the internal and external crisis.

“There are no crises in banks for example because regulators of that sector have created a code to guide the affairs of that sector which is reviewed from time to time to ensure that it is in tune with current realities.

“Also, after reviews, their finding should be published, and if published, all institutions would be afraid of scandal and public perception of their activities, which if negative, would affect patronage.

“For tertiary institutions, we are conscious of the fact that we need to move to the youth target market to capture them early enough to imbibe our ethical principles in them.

“More so with the growth in the number of young entrepreneurs, the minimum we can do is to have our professionals assist these organisations to ensure they comply with best practices for economic growth and stability,” he said.

Ayeku also spoke on the challenges of insecurity, emphasising urgency at ending the menace by employing more personnel, advanced technology and engaging foreign assistance, if necessary.

“Survival is the first instinct and security is the responsibility of every well-meaning Nigerian, and we must all be conscious of our surroundings at all times.

“If there is need to recruit more personnel, technology, foreign assistance, the government should do so as soon as possible,’’ he said.

On the state of the nation, Ayeku urged leaders to consider themselves trustees and managers of national resources, conscious of their timeframe of service, to leave great legacies for future benefits.

“Also, followers must see leaders as agents to achieve the goals of the country who must be asked questions when deviating.

“The leaders can make genuine mistakes, but when they are conscious of the fact that questions would be asked, they have no choice but to sit up and do right by the citizens,’’ he said.

Ayeku advocated proper succession planning and review to address possible gaps during a change of leadership both in public and private organisations.

The ICSAN president restated that violation of professional ethics standards by members would attract sanction according to the provisions of the enabling act of the Institute.

He reiterated the institute’s commitment to continue advocacy programmes to drive inclusive economic growth and development.

“The edge the institute has is that corporate governance cuts across all aspects of an organisation, so, we are able to impact the nation across the board,’’ Ayeku said.

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