20 March 2017

Nigeria: Experts Want Nigerian Businesses to Adopt Transparency in Operations

Business and economy experts and stakeholders have canvassed for the promotion of corporate governance and sustainability among business owners and companies around the country.

The stakeholders who spoke at a one-day seminar tagged "Sustainability and Corporate Governance: Building long term Value", also reiterated the importance of disclosures by corporate organisations.

Ola Bello, executive director of Good Governance Africa, noted that companies should be spurred to make as much disclosure as the law permits, adding that the Nigerian business environment is not over-regulated.

Mr. Bello, who spoke as a discussant, said efforts should be intensified on moves to ensure transparency and sustainability in the business and economy sector.

For Nornay Awoh, a business expert and contributor, investors should be charged to raise questions about the financial state of their companies.

Mr. Awoh, who disclosed that ignorance of the workings of the companies also contribute to lack of corporate governance, called on the media and other regulatory bodies to put companies' directors on their toes.

"The judiciary, the police, regulators and the press should report contradictions in companies (financial) reports," he said.

Chinyere Almona, Africa Corporate Governance Program Manager at the International Finance Corporation, IFC, said educational institutions should be equipped to train and raise young directors that will take over the corporate world from old directors.

Ms. Almona, who explained that solving the problem of corporate governance is a collective effort, charged the regulatory bodies to intensify their efforts.

Olumide Orojimi, head of corporate communications at the Nigeria Stock Exchange, on his part, said campaign should be intensified on how corporate governance disclosures can be improved upon.

Mr. Orojimi also enjoined investors to be sensitive to happenings in the companies where they have stake, noting that questions should be asked on issues especially during Annual General Meetings, AGMs.

The sustainability seminar, held in Lagos, was put together by the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, in conjunction with the Global Reporting Initiative, GR, as well as the EY.

Joseph Owolabi, West Africa Lead, Climate Change and Sustainability Service at the EY, said the discourse centred around the need to raise awareness about the importance of disclosures and corporate governance in a company's sustainability drive.

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