By Rukayat Moisemhe, Lagos.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday called on leaders of corporate organisations to build the capacity of Nigerian youths to be innovative and embrace technology to make positive contributions to their organisations and the nation.
The president, who was represented by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), made the call at the Institute of Directors (IoD) 2022 Annual Director’s Conference (ADC) on Thursday in Lagos.
The theme of the conference is “Corporate Governance and Digital Transformation: Leading Purposefully for Growth and Sustainability.”
Buhari, who noted that the challenges facing corporate governance were multifaceted, underscored the need for heads of organisations to harness technology to achieve effective governance.
He reiterated the commitment of his administration to providing the necessary legal support and framework to support the entrenchment of good corporate governance practices across various sectors of the economy.
Buhari also pledged his commitment to supporting the IoD by giving the institute’s Chartered Bill the necessary consideration to enable the institute to achieve its mandate.
“Against the backdrop of the challenges of corporate governance, the Financial Reporting Council published the Code of Corporate Governance to promote public awareness of ethical practices that would advance the integrity of the business environment.
“Also, the National Development Plan 2021-2025 was developed by government to unlock the country’s potential across all sectors of the economy via a strong and sustainable governance structure.
“The private sector has been identified as the driver of the economy and the public sector as the provider of the enabling environment for that; it is, therefore, pertinent for both sectors to collaborate in the interest of the country.
“While I am committed to bettering the ease of doing business in Nigeria; all hands must be on deck for the country to come out of its economic challenges,” he said.
Ms Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations, said that the world was currently facing a series of global crises, which affected the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mohammed said that technology and digitalisation would advance the era of digital transformation in the health, education, agriculture and finance sectors.
She, however, noted that the digital revolution was not without risks that required concerted efforts to tackle, while calling for new policies that accelerated and incentivised connectivity in the country.
“Digital revolution is one of the most powerful tools for education and can be properly harnessed by strengthening infrastructure, filling access gaps and forging new and innovative public-private partnerships such as between Jumia and UN, which aims to connect every school to technology by 2030.
“Digital data; the lifeblood of planning could become world’s best-selling commodity, as it can boost yields, lower transaction costs, strengthen traceability, among others, in agriculture and other sectors.
“However, data can be misused to devastating effects and we must strive for digital policies that prevent such misuse.
“At the UN, to address this, we are proposing a digital compact to be signed in 2024 and countries around the world can leverage this agreement.
“I task all Nigerians on nation building, as opposed to constantly speaking down the country,” she said.
Chief Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, represented by Mr Garba Abubakar, Registrar-General, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), described the event’s theme as apt, considering the centrality of technology in today’s environment.
The minister said that the extent to which a company embraced technology depended largely on the disposition of its director in charge of strategic leadership.
Adebayo added that the provisions of Company and Allied Matter Act (CAMA), 2020 made room for many technological inputs such as e-meetings, e-filing, e-submitting, among others.
He stressed that all these would reduce governance cost and time, improve staff coordination, improve customer experience, shrink communication gap, among others.
Adebayo said: “While elevating digital technology, the director must act at all times in the best interest of the business.
“Directors must also consider the impact of companies’ operations on the environment and boards must ensure that management acts in the best interest of the stakeholders.”