It’s more than a year since the Code of Conduct issued by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria has been active. The code which was promulgated to harmonize several codes of conducts across various sectors to cut across companies in the public sector, private sector (including small businesses) and non-governmental organizations. Public sector in this parlance means government establishments while the private sector refers to either privately owned company or publicly owned companies.
Although the code has met with several controversies as it overlaps with already existing codes and the principal law regulating companies, the code tried to take care of through the harmonization.
It is however too early to say for certain what the final position will be as the matter is still being decided by the court, here are some points on the code for the private sector to note on the introduction of the code pending final determination from the courts.
- Appointment of Directors: The code’s regulation on the appointment of company directors is that all directors are to disclose other directorships in other companies whether current appointments or potential appointments. So, also there is the provision that no more than two members of a family can sit on the board of the same company at the same time with a clear distinction of the chairman of the board of directors and the chief executive officer, the latter compulsorily being an executive director and the former being a non-executive director.
- Independence of non-executive directors: The code has in a bid to ensure the effectiveness of the board and absence of bias in decision making require that non-executive directors are totally independent of the company. Criteria such as not being a substantial shareholder or employee of the company are used to measure independence.
- On members of regulatory bodies: The code forbids anybody who has been worked in a regulatory agency from sitting on the board of any company within three years of leaving the regulatory body. This apparently is to prevent undue advantage and conflict of interests
- Office Tenure for directors: The code has required that executive directors cannot hold office as directors for more than ten years. That is not more than two five year terms. The same also applies to non-executive directors. However, the tenure for non-executive directors is four years to the maximum of three terms.
- Minority shareholder protection: Although minority shareholders are adequately protected by the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the main law governing companies in Nigeria, the code has gone further to fortify the protection by making sure that minority shareholders can submit agendas for company meetings.
- Company Audits: The code requires that external auditors of a company cannot be engaged for more than ten continuous years and cannot be eligible for reappointment until after seven years after the ten-year compulsory term. While the code also precludes external auditors from rendering financial related services like tax consultancy and investment consultancy, the partners of the audit firm are expected to be rotated every five years.
On the other part for internal auditors, every company is mandated to set up an internal audit unit who will report to the audit committee prescribed by law on level of compliance of the company financial management.
- Whistleblowing Policy: The code in a bid to expose corrupt practices has mandated all companies to have a whistleblowing policy. This is expected to facilitate the exposure of corrupt practices within a company’s management. The policy is expected to afford whistleblowers confidentiality and protection and also compensation in the case of any harm suffered by a whistleblower in any act of whistleblowing.
Parts of this article was culled from Templars, a leading Nigerian Law firm.
FG says 174,574 successfully register for N75 billion MSME survival fund in 48 hours
174,574 persons have successfully registered for schemes under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan.
The Federal Government has disclosed that a total of 174,574 persons successfully registered for the N75bn National MSME Survival Fund and the Guaranteed Off-take Stimulus schemes under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan, within 48 hours.
The disclosure was made by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, during a media briefing on the update of the schemes, on Thursday, September 24, 2020.
Mariam Katagum, in her statement, said: “As at 8.30 am this (Thursday) morning, total successful registrations stood at 174,574 with the following states having the highest applications as follows: Kano, 19,895; Kaduna, 13,575; Lagos, 13,640; Katsina: 8,383; Federal Capital Territory, 8,085.”
She stated that the registration for the MSME Survival Fund commenced on September 21, 2020, at 11 pm, and within 24 hours, approximately 138,000 individuals had logged on, created profiles and completed the first stage of registration with Kano, Kaduna and Lagos as lead states.
Going further, Katagum said, “All successful applicants received SMS and email verification with a list of requirements for the second stage of application which would commence on October 1, 2020. Applicants will be required to upload details supporting their applications which will be verified and if successful, approved for disbursements.”
The minister further disclosed the states that recorded the highest numbers of applications within the first 24 hours of registration; these are Kano, which recorded 16,880: Kaduna, 11,438; Lagos, 10, 530; Katsina, 7,354; and Bauchi, 6,622.
Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data
She also stated that registration for other tracks would start next with the hospitality industry coming on September 25, 2020, by 10 am; payroll support (others), September 28, 2020, 10 am; while artisan/transport grants would start on October 1, 2020.
Nairametrics had two days ago reported the opening of the portal for its N75 billion Micro, Small and Medium (MSMEs) Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-take schemes with effect from 10 pm on Monday, September 21, 2020.
These two MSMEs initiatives namely MSMEs Survival Fund with payroll support track and the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme which are at the core of FG’s N2.3 stimulus package in the Economic Sustainability Plan, were introduced by it as part of the efforts to help businesses overcome challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hon. Minister of State (@TradeInvestNG ),Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum briefed members of the Media on update of the N75 billion National MSMEs Survival Fund (@SurvivalFund_ng ) and the Guaranteed Off-take Schemes under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) today. pic.twitter.com/r6qiFu79Gj
— FMITI Nigeria (@TradeInvestNG) September 24, 2020
How to register for FG’s N75 billion MSME survival funds
FG released guidelines to access the N75 billion MSME Survival Fund.
The Federal Government (FG) has released the guidelines to access the N75 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund and Support Initiatives, which took effect from September 21, 2020.
The scheme, which is the core of the N2.3 trillion stimulus package of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan includes the N60 billion MSMEs Survival Fund and the N15 billion Guaranteed Offtake Schemes.
This disclosure was made in an official statement by the Federal Government through a series of tweet posts on its official Twitter handle.
The statement from FG read, “As the portal for the registration of prospective beneficiaries of Survival Fund opens, interested Nigerians in the Payroll Support Scheme are to note that the site will be open from 10 pm Monday, September 21, 2020.”
The statement says that the registration for the payroll support will start with the educational institutions at 10 pm Monday, September 21, 2020, and will be followed by businesses in the hospitality industry by 12am Friday, September 25, 2020.
The portal will also open for other categories of small businesses from 12am, Monday, September 28, 2020. It should be noted that the scheduling of the registration for prospective beneficiaries is to ensure that the process is seamless and hitch-free. The registration of every sector is to continue until Thursday, October 15, 2020.
To register for this initiative, the Federal Government has also provided a portal for entry. Potential beneficiaries are advised to log on to https://survivalfund.ng to complete their registration.
As part of the registration process, the beneficiaries are expected to provide personal registration details, activate their account, register their organization after they have successfully activated their account.
Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Number, Bank Verification Number (BVN), SMEDAN Number, a Tax ID (optional) and the organization’s bank account details will be needed.
Completing the Payroll Support Registration, beneficiaries’ first name, last name, email, mobile number and Password will be required. Also, their Date of Birth, residential address and residential Local Government Area will also be provided.
These 2 MSMEs initiatives namely MSMEs Survival Fund with payroll support track and the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme were introduced by the FG as part of the efforts to support businesses overcome challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The MSMEs Survival Fund scheme is a conditional grant to support vulnerable micro and small enterprises in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in the MSMEs sector. The scheme is expected to save at least 1.3 million jobs across the country and specifically impact on over 35,000 individuals per state.
The scheme will be implemented over an initial period of 3 months and is targeted at employees of MSMEs and self-employed individuals with 45% for female business participation and 5% for special needs participation
The Guaranteed Off Take Stimulus Scheme is expected to perfect and sustain the income of vulnerable micro and small enterprises from the economic disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic through the implementation of various initiatives aimed at boosting the production capacities of small businesses as well as the provision of grants.
The duration is also for an initial period of 3 months and is targeted at micro and small businesses registered in Nigeria.
Registration for #PayrollSupport will start with educational institutions at 10pm on Monday Sept 21, 2020, and will be followed by businesses in the hospitality industry on Friday September 25 beginning from 12am.
— Government of Nigeria (@NigeriaGov) September 21, 2020
FG to provide financial support for 1.7 million businesses, individuals in next 3 months
FG had announced specific programmes aimed at cushioning the impact of COVID-19 on MSME businesses.
The Federal Government has announced plans to provide financial support for 1.7 million businesses and individuals across the country within the next 3 months.
This disclosure was made by the Minister of State for industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, at the virtual commissioning of the Fashion Cluster Shared Facility for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) tagged, Eko Fashion Hub, in Lagos.
Katagum disclosed that the initiative is borne out of the Federal Government’s continued commitment to helping cushion the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy by saving existing jobs and creating new job opportunities.
The minister said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, through the Economic Sustainability Committee, had announced specific programmes aimed at cushioning the impact of COVID-19 on MSME businesses.
She said, “The Federal Government is fully committed to empowering Nigerians; more so in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic. In this regard, the government, through the Economic Sustainability Committee had announced specific programmes aimed at cushioning the impact of COVID-19 on MSME businesses.
“These programmes include among others, the N75 billion MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-take Schemes of which I have the honour to chair the Steering Committee for the effective implementation of the projects.
“The project, which will run for an initial period of three months, is targeting 1.7million entities and individuals and has provisions for 45 per cent female-owned businesses and five per cent for those with special needs. The registration portal for the schemes is set to open on Monday 21st September 2020 and I urge you all to take full advantage of the schemes.’’
The Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan which was produced by a committee headed by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, is a response to the health and economic challenges which foisted on the country by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Aside from developing robust monetary policies and fiscal measures to enhance oil and non-oil government revenues and reduce non-essential spending, the plan also includes a N2.3 trillion stimulus package for the economy.
Katagum said that the schemes were at the core of the N2.3 trillion stimulus package being implemented by the Federal Government. She said that the commissioning of shared facilities was also expected to provide succour and relief to the teeming micro-businesses in need of space and infrastructural support