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FRC Academy money intact –Executive Secretary

…As Council  unveils new draft Code of Corporate Governance

Amechi Ogbonna

The Executive Secretary and Chief Executive of The Financial Reporting Council (FRC), Mr Daniel Asakpokai, has assured that third party donations toward the implementation of the FRC Academy are still safe and not mismanaged as alleged in some quarters.

Asakpokhai who spoke shortly after unveiling the exposure draft on 28 principles and 230 practices on Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance (NCCG) 2018, produced by a 15-member committee set up in January to review the October 2016 suspended National Code, said the fund is safely kept in the Federal Government’s treasury single account (TSA) and would be deployed for the purpose it was meant at the appropriate time. Third party donors including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had raised over N500 million towards the establishment of the FRC Academy. The proceeds were kept in interest-yeilding Federal Government Securities until the removal of its former CEO, Mr. Jim Obazae, in 2016.

But according to Asakpokhai, details of the agency’s financial status are available on its website.
On why the Academy has not taken off despite the hype that trailed its conception, Asakpokhai assured the project remains a top priority for the FRC which would come on stream after some procedural reviews by the board of the Council are concluded.

Speaking while presenting the new exposure draft, the FRC boss said the proposed code contains 28 principles as the core of the code and 230 practices which are recommended to enable flexible guidelines for different regulators and companies implementing the principles.

“This is perhaps the distinct shift between the current code and the previous version of the code released, which was suspended. That is the outcome of the work the council (FRC) has taken,” he said.

“The time we have spent between the suspension of the earlier code released in 2016 and today has also allowed us to take cognizance in corporate governance practices around the world.”

According to him, the proposed code will increase national competitiveness and is more in line with what most countries have adopted  in terms of the corporate governance especially the UK corporate governance code and the King IV Code of Corporate Governance for South Africa, 2016, whose chairman was invited to Nigeria to advise the team in charge of the review of the suspended code.

“Nigeria, as an economic entity, competes with other countries for investment capital; and investors will be attracted to where international standard and codes are observed. So it is therefore important we benchmark ourselves with internationally agreed standards and goals, investors can clearly see how well we are,” said Mr. Asapokhai

“We believe having a national code that a lot of our commercial enterprises adhere to, will increase national development.”

The code aims to standardise the practice of good corporate governance and induce voluntary compliance with the highest ethical standards across the Nigerian market.

Due to the fact that many companies that are expected to implement the code may not currently have adequate corporate governance structures, companies would be required to begin reporting on the application of the Code in their annual report, starting in financial years ending on or before January 1, 2020.

The FRC said it would embark on public awareness campaign across the geopolitical zones for a widespread acceptance of the draft.

“The council will organise public hearing in all geopolitical zones, including the Federal Capital Territory, to elicit comment and reactions from key stakeholders which will be taken into consideration in finalising the Code,” said Nelson Anumaka, head, directorate of corporate governance, FRC.

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