By Rukayat Moisemhe
Lagos, Nov. 6, 2020 The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) says incorporating corporate governance principles would help the nation navigate through the challenges of COVID-19 and the destruction in the aftermath of the EndSARS protests.
Mr Bode Ayeku, President, ICSAN made the assertion at a media parley on Friday in Lagos.
Ayeku said the principles of transparency, fairness, responsibility and accountability by private and public institutions on the current state of affairs to stakeholders and citizens would engender business continuity.
He said the revelations by the governor of Lagos, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu over the amount of destruction occasioned by the EndSARS protests presented a transparent detail of the situation of things.
According to him, such action informed the public and stakeholders on the impact of the carnage, and if need be, a justified inclusion in the state’s budget presentation for rebuilding.
“This way, people would have an understanding of what is happening, as no one expects the governor to wake up and say there is an additional variation of N1 trillion in the budget without cogent explanation.
“The way he has carried the people along and the visits he has made shows he is not basing his actions on hearsay on the level of destruction and the strategies in place to revive the economy.
“The impact of COVID-19 which affected all sectors must have directors communicating with their stakeholders on current realities and apply same set of corporate governance to revive institutions,” he said.
Ayeku urged the reinforcement of Business Continuity Plans (BCP) by organisations and the nation as the normal position instead of the relegated default position, to address local and global disruptions of COVID-19.
He called for massive investment in technology in the public sector across all levels.
Ayeku stressed the need for digitisation of all activities for proper record keeping and adequate utilisation of human resources in the case of business disruptions.
“I do not think anyone envisaged COVID-19 timeframe disruptions or even that of the EndSARS.
“Many organisations have adapted to the new normal of doing business from home, and for example the Nigerian Stock Exchange has not missed any event since the new normal began.
“What we have relegated to a default position is now the new normal position.
“The sector that needs to take the greater lesson and move very fast is the public sector.
“The incident of the pandemic which left junior workers at home led to the underutilization of manpower and resources and loss of revenue to services that could have been rendered during the period,” he said.
The ICSAN President also charged government on measures to adequately address its expenditure by the adoption of digitisation that would allow electronic means of conducting elections.
On the nation’s status on borrowing, Ayeku said that the best time for the nation to borrow was at such a time as this, due to the reduced interest rate.
He said that he saw nothing wrong with borrowing, as long as it was properly utilized for infrastructure and technological advancement.
“This is the right time to borrow but the borrowing must not be used for consumption, for personnel, to serve the personal interest of persons or the maintenance of our bloated structure.
“The sources of revenue are not as broad-based as it were, and when there is a drop in revenue, the ideal thing is to be disciplined with expenditure.
“Our cost of governance is abnormal and government needs to let stakeholders be aware that they cannot continue to spend money at the current rate,” he said.
Ayeku also spoke on the Institute’s forthcoming annual conference scheduled to hold from Nov. 19 to 20, 2020 at Muson Centre.
He said that notable Nigerians such as Dr Christopher Kolade, and Mr Oscar Onyema, Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange, would be honoured for value addition to national progress.
The ICSAN President said the theme of the conference “Entrenching the Right Governance Framework for Economic Development and Sustainability” was chosen to reflect the current reality and development.
Ayeku recently emerged as Vice President, Corporate Secretaries International Association (CSIA), an international governance association.
He said the appointment would give the Institute and the nation further perspective of happenings globally.
Ayeku said that the appointment revealed that ICSAN had contributed tremendously globally.
He said it afforded the institute an opportunity to exchange ideas and development to enable it progress to be the global voice of good governance principles.
“The election was done recently and we have been part of this global association for years now.
“The only way a global organisation would allow a member Institute to aspire or to be elected to that office is that that member organisation would have been contributing tremendously to the progress of that institution.
“This development affords us the opportunity to upload our locally held programmes on a global platform and we have been getting positive, progressive reactions and we give same to them as well,” he said.
By Rukayat Moisemhe