THE Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, has kicked against the Central Bank of Nigeria’s policy that bars certain businesses and their promoters from obtaining fresh loans from banks. Remi Bello, president, LCCI, said it was inappropriate for the banking sector regulator to criminalise those who approached banks for loans simply because their businesses had challenges and could not pay previous credit facilities on the agreed terms.
“There’s a need to revisit some of the policies of the Federal Government, especially that of the Central Bank of Nigeria regarding the outright ban on people who were given loans and could not meet up with the repayment, not because of failure on their part, but because of the challenges the nation is facing, inclusive of the insurgency in the North, and very recently, the Ebola issue. There is a need for a review of some of these policies by the CBN governor. Some of these policies, especially with regard to some bad loans and facilities, which are as a result of the challenges the nation is facing. The new CBN governor will need to go back and look at these policies as they affect businesses that are under one intervention fund or the other, and which are not able to operate now. They should be given some special consideration,” he said.
Remi argued that an outright ban on people because they were involved in running those businesses and could not meet up with the repayment of the facilities needed to be addressed seriously. “Don’t criminalise people that are taking loans. If you are not taking loans and you are not taking facility, you are not in business.”
CAC Emphasizes Need for Code of Corporate Governance
THE Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, has called on stakeholders in the Nigerian economy to fully embrace the code of corporate governance to ensure great integrity and rapid growth. Bello Mahmud, registrar-general, CAC, who gave the advice during a courtesy visit by Eniola Fadayomi, chairman, Institute of Directors, said an effective code of corporate governance would create the right environment for growth as well as improve the overall interest of businesses.
He expressed the commitment of the commission as a partner in nation building, adding that the CAC was institutionalising an annual corporate citizens’ award to provide a solid foundation for enterprise and proper business ethics. The award, he added, would promote the culture of good corporate governance in the Nigerian environment by recognising corporate citizens who had conducted their affairs in compliance with statutory requirements and best practices of corporate governance. The registrar-general agreed to partner with the institute to encourage directors of companies to attend its direction courses.
Fadayomi had earlier urged the CAC to ensure that attendance at the IoD’s company direction courses was specified for all company directors as part of the criteria for registering a new firm. According to her, the courses are globally recognised as effective toolkits for creating better boards and sustaining best practises in corporate governance.
CABCO Endorses New Cement Standard
THE Coalition Against Building Collapse, CABCO, has reiterated its call for stakeholders’ support for the new cement standard which aims at minimising the incidence of building collapse and moving the Nigerian cement industry forward. Clement Orimade, general secretary, CABCO, said the group restated the call after its meeting in Lagos to discuss the current cement controversy.
Orimade said instead of complying with the new guidelines that will save lives and property, some stakeholders have resorted to blackmailing the House of Representatives and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, thereby deceiving the larger Nigerian public. “We have noted with dismay a well-orchestrated campaign of blackmail, misinformation and threat being visited on SON with the aim of forcing a policy reversal that will prolong Nigeria’s losses to building collapse. When they get tired of blackmailing SON, they turn to the House of Representatives which have voted in favour of enforcement of the new cement standard,” he said.
According to Orimade, cement labelling and traceability requirements which are part of the new cement standard are long overdue, adding that cement manufacturers have cheated consumers for too long through non-disclosure of important facts of their products. “Manufacturers who are kicking against the inclusion of cement grade, batch number and expiry date on the labelling want to perpetuate the cheating into a new era where the versatile 42.5 has become the mandatory all-purpose cement grade in Nigeria. They should count themselves lucky that consumers haven’t sued them for failing to give full disclosure of the facts of the cement they sell.”
CABCO faulted the claim that it will take manufacturers of 32.5 two years to change their production line to 42.5, calling it another falsehood being spread in an effort to keep Nigerians buying the lower grade and suffering the consequences rather than going for a more reliable grade cement. “The technical experts in our coalition have investigated the issue and found that, contrary to what opponents of the new cement standard are saying, conversion of a 32.5 production line to a 42.5 production line requires neither new buildings nor new manufacturing equipment but adjustment of the combination and preparation of ingredients. It won’t take a month for them to do something as simple and cheap as re-labelling their cement and including the required basic information. We challenge them to come out and tell Nigerians what it takes to label cement,” he said.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— Sep. 8, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT