• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Stable economy, policy continuity will attract foreign investments – Borodo, CIoD President

Stable economy, policy continuity will attract foreign investments – Borodo, CIoD President

Tijani Mohammed Borodo, the new president of the Chartered Institute of Directors (CIoD) Nigeria, in this interview with Eniola Olatunji, speaks about his plans for the organisation as well as how Nigeria can mitigate some of the economic conditions facing the country. Excerpts:

Following the nation’s current economic challenges, what are your suggestions for those managing the economy?

We currently have challenges in this country. We are a nation with over 200 million people yet we cannot feed ourselves, we cannot provide enough security for ourselves, we cannot provide jobs for our young ones, we don’t have adequate power supply and loss and loss and loss of these issues.

We all know them. But first, I think we need to look at who we are as a people before we talk about the current government. Honestly, litter is part and parcel of any society.

Go and check any society. If you find a good leader, that leader comes from a good society. If you find a bad leader, that society is also bad. However we, as a people, must make up our minds, and do the right things for the individual person.

I think if you take, for example, the issue of fuel subsidies from the day President Bola Tinubu came to power. He removed the fuel subsidy on the 29th of May. We all know what is happening with the fuel subsidy in this country. It was a big scam. The government was losing money, as Nigerians were losing money to just a few cabals. So when he removed the fuel subsidy on May 29, it was a big shock to everybody at that time fuel was about N198 per litre, and it became N480, and now N600, and it keeps going up. There are areas that we need to address as a team, the removal of fuel subsidy is the right thing, the issue of FX. What happened in the last regime that has been stopped is also the right thing to do as a person and as a nation we must be determined to do the right things.

In summary, I’m very optimistic about what this country is and its potential. It’s important to note that as people, we make up our minds to run this country properly, efficiently, and rightly, we will succeed.

What will be your primary focus as the new president of the Chartered Institute of Directors Nigeria over the next two years?

We have reached a significant milestone by gaining chartered status under President Buhari’s leadership. This transition to the Chartered Institute of Directors in Nigeria after four decades marks a pivotal moment for us. Additionally, we’ve seen a change in leadership, with President Bola Tinubu taking office and a new President, Tijani Ahmed Borodu, like myself, assuming responsibilities. These events lay the foundation for our strategic direction.

My strategic agenda revolves around three core points. Transition Implementation with our new charter status, we have new responsibilities to uphold. The implementation of the provisions laid out by this change is a significant aspect of our agenda. Membership and Branch Reform: We recognize the potential for growth and improvement in our membership structure and branch development programs. A reform strategy is underway to enhance both aspects and provide greater value to our members Enhanced Regulation and Training: Our aim is to elevate our internal processes, systems, and the value we offer to our members.

We intend to regulate our operations better, ensuring that our members receive valuable training and support. This will enable them to make a more profound impact on their organizations and beyond. Inclusiveness is a principle I deeply value, and it’s one I intend to carry forward from the previous administration. This philosophy encompasses various dimensions, including gender, education, social status, geographical representation, and more. Upholding and promoting inclusiveness will remain a core part of our institute’s culture under my leadership.

There appears to be a discrepancy in the adoption of corporate governance principles between the private sector and the public sector, particularly within the Civil Service. What steps will the Institute of Directors Nigeria (IOD) take under your leadership to address this issue?

The IOD has recognized this need for nearly a decade and has been actively engaging with the public sector to promote good corporate governance practices.

Over the years, the IOD has collaborated with various government organs and offices to conduct capacity development programs aimed at enhancing the knowledge of public sector practitioners. These programs are designed to uplift the understanding of corporate governance principles among public servants.

We have initiated discussions with key entities within the public sector. For example, we engaged with Boss Gida Mustapha, the former Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), aiming to advocate for good corporate governance practices, especially in the appointment of new board members for government parastatals. Our goal is to participate in the induction programs for these new members, ensuring that they are well-versed in corporate governance principles.

What are some of the unique qualities and past experiences you are bringing to this role?

I’m a corporate governance practitioner. As president, I came into this office a couple of months ago but before then I’ve been part and parcel of the council of IOD for the last 11 years. I’m an illegal practitioner by profession, I’ve been called Niger Bar for over 43 years ago and I worked in the public sector for 10 years, and rose to the position of director of public prosecution before I joined the banking sector.

In the banking sector I spent another 30 years of my life and in those 30 years, I worked 22 years with the Board of First Bank of Nigeria, and they are holders now.

I have held those responsible positions for 22 years. I kept on practicing governance and now all those years working with the secretariat, that’s governess.

So when we started holding companies in this country, FirstBank was the first company that did holding company in this country and I midwifed that and first band was the first company to have the premium Board status in the Nigeria Stock Exchange.

I have been a member of different bodies, a member of the International Bar Association (IBA), the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Honorary Senior Member, the Chartered Institute of Bankers (HCIB), and several other corporate governance institutions, both local and international.

So all these years, what I’ve chosen to do is practice and preach good governance. Corporate governance and good governance wherever I find myself. I am ably placed now to be able to drive the affairs of the IOD for the next two years.

Many firms are collapsing in Nigeria due to both infractions and managerial failures and as an institute, how best do you improve your members’ capacities to embrace best practices and deliver on their mandates as directors?

It is very clear that one of the main objectives is to provide well-trained, knowledgeable skills, and competent corporate governance practitioners.

That’s the first objective of this charter that we’ve got. It’s the job of the organisation, and our process of recruitment. You can be a director but before you become a member of IoD, we put you through different training and courses before you become an associate or a full member. We have a training academy, membership programs, and different activities.

The knowledge, skills, and competencies we imbibe in our members allow them to go and practice good corporate governance in their organisations.

That’s what is going to save our businesses in this country. I know that. But an IOD and directors are coming for our training and courses. I believe that you can have improved governance in the companies and help this country.

What is your advice for SMEs with regard to having a proper succession, planning in place to drive longevity and business sustainability?

I said earlier on, we have these young directors forums and we believe if you check the membership of that forum, a lot of them belong to the small medium Enterprises and succession planning is one of the critical success factors of any good business.

What is your advice for SMEs with regards to having a proper succession, planning in place to drive longevity and business sustainability.

I said earlier on, we have these young directors forums and we believe if you check the membership of that forum, a lot of them belong to the small medium Enterprises and succession planning is one of the critical success factors of any good business.

Succession planning is very important, arguably it’s one of the things people must start thinking of the moment they start the business, Who will succeed? How successful is this going to be? How is it going to continue? continuity of the business? These are things that we try to make members of these SMEs that come to the forum understand that it is important and they have that at the back of their minds.

When talking about succession planning, it is not to be done in isolation. You have to look at the issue of the structure of the business, think in terms of the continuity of the business, and seek in terms of the skills and competencies of the people running that business even if it’s a small and medium enterprise.

What are your plans towards former President Jonathan’s advice about IOD consulting for the executive arm of government to promote good succession plans between interim governments?

I was at that dinner when President Jonathan made those comments, and incidentally, I was sitting by his side. We had some discussions between me and him. and he said, Alhaji Borodo with what I see here I’m very proud of you people number one from what I see, you have this smooth succession.

You have a lineage that people can come get trained and groomed properly before they become president of IoD. You go through tutelage at least six years, four years before you become a president, that’s very good and for those four years you’re going through tutelage, you are part and parcel of that presidency so by the time you get there you take your feet and say I am not part of this, so I think he commended us for that.

He said what you are doing as IoD, I think if you start thinking in terms of how do you get across to the Government? and I said, Your Excellency, we’ll be very glad to do that. He said. If there’s anything I can do for you with regard to that I’m willing to do that.

One of the things that we’re going to do in this regime is to go back to President Jonathan and say, sir, do you remember our discussion the other time? There’s a new government in the country now. We are willing, as IoD, to engage the government to preach this governance, the smooth succession, and the continuity that has worked for IoD, we believe, if this practice in the government, we are going to have a better country as a people.

What are your thoughts regarding private companies listing equities and bonds in foreign denominations?

What will make people subscribe to these bonds is that they must see stability in their country. Economic stability and political stability in the country. Also, what is fundamental is that people must see a window where there’s going to be stability and continuity in government policies for them to subscribe to these bonds that they want to float.

So that’s what I would say to that. I think this government, the Minister for finance and economic coordination Wale Edun, he’s a very experienced banker, a very experienced capital market person, and I believe Wale will bring his experience out to what we’re going to do in the country.

So that goes back to where we were talking earlier, that governance is so important. There must be a drive for people to come and invest foreign direct investment or private investment into these foreign denomination bonds. So what is fundamental is, there’s what is called the country risk before anybody brings their money into our country, they will evaluate that level of risk.

What are your thoughts on the need for Nigeria to achieve a private sector-driven economy, you know, considering the contribution of the private sector to the economy?

So the biggest thing is that the government must create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. That’s fundamental. They must provide infrastructure in terms of roads, electricity, water, and security, and create an enabling environment for businesses to strive. I believe, if the government does that, our private sector will strive. and it will work very well so that the Government, provided, becomes an enabler.

Now that the Institute has attained its Charter status, what are the benefits, and how do you intend to work with other organisations?

So for us now we’re going to the drawing board right from the beginning. What do we need to put in place for our members to be chartered directors? so that when they go, they can rub shoulders with any other chartered director in the world.

There’s a process we want to put in place, we just got this chartered status on May 25. and now we are going to set up a committee to transition between where we have been for the last 40 years and going into the future. Two years is too short to do all of these things, but what I assure you is that we laid the foundation for members to become chartered directors.

On the issue of Japa, and its impact on the future of work for Nigerians, what can we do as a country to reverse the trend and what role do boards have to play to encourage the youth to stay back and build the nation?

It’s very painful to have young men and women we have trained and educated leave because we cannot keep them back home. I think about what we need to do, we cannot be crying over spilled milk. We have to move on. What are the solutions? What do we need to do?

I believe there is a need for us to have responsible governance on quality, education and skill development, quality, education and skill development. We need to create an environment that encourages young men to stay in Nigeria. Government bodies must create an environment for entrepreneurship and innovation. So these young ones can see a future.

So the point I’m making is that we must create that environment for these young people to step back and say, yes, I’m proud to be a Nigerian, and I’m proud to pursue my skills and competencies back home in Nigeria. So what we need to do is not going to be easy. But we have to do that. Otherwise, these young men and women will continue to leave this country

Are there plans the Institute is making to assist members in all this to curtail the current economic challenges?

IOD is not for profit. I wish you had some money that we could give to our members to assist them in running their business. However, you know, there’s inflation, foreign exchange issues, there’s insecurity, power problem, there’s unemployment. All these compartments affect our members in their various businesses.

What we do as an institute to our members is to open their minds and think about the reality of what the economy is and what measures they need to put in place for their businesses to strive in this local environment.

That’s what IoD does. We don’t have palliatives, but what we do, is that during our own training and seminars, we bring experts to talk about current issues. Current challenges and proffer solutions, and that’s what IOD does for its own members. So in every event, when you leave as a member of IOD you are better equipped to go run your business more efficiently. so that at the end of the day you’re a better person. and also their company is beneficial. That’s what IOD does for its members.

Read also: At 40, IoD begins ‘work and walk’ scheme to make CEOs fitter

We’ve had a lot of economic reforms and policies that this new government has put in place to ensure the country’s finances are in a better place which has had some implications on the masses. How best do you think that directors in these kinds of organisations can mitigate the impact of these economic policies on their staff, and even on ordinary Nigerians?

There’s no one answer that fits everywhere. You see where we are because of what we have been for a long time and to correct where we are now requires a lot of discipline and sacrifice. That’s what the President said, and I believe that’s correct. But, to get to where we want to be. We have to be alive first. Right? Fuel subsidy has created what has been created now, but on palliatives.

Read also: IoD Nigeria gets charter status after 40 years

You find that whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. There’s no way you can say you have taken enough money to distribute to Nigerians, and that will solve the problem. Don’t forget there’s inflation. So if it’s a question of distributing money. How do you deal with inflation because of the value-time value of money, how much is it? How much can you buy?

For this inflation trend that we have, I think we must go to the roots. What and what can we do? Start putting it in place for the future. For us to be able to address. People must be able to go back to the farm. They must have security, to do their farming, and produce their goods and services. When palliative is being given. The farmer doesn’t want you to give him money if he can subsidise his farm inputs, fertiliser, that will be his palliative.

The person who is in the city would rather have a situation where the cost of transportation becomes lower than what it was. I understand the price of BRT in Lagos, the government has said, is 50 percent, so it’s that kind of thing that eases people’s movements.

To me that’s the most important palliative, to create that environment for them to be able to come out and earn their own living instead of just dashing their money. Secondly, you’re talking about the private sector, and people’s unemployment in the private sector. Some companies have said, Okay, now. instead of coming to work every day for 5 days, you spend all the money on transport and come to work 3 times a day.

Recall they have given money to state governments as palliatives. I hope the state government that collected this money from the central government will do what is right for their people instead of just giving money in bits of N10,000 or N15,000 to finish overnight. So what I’m saying is fundamentally, you must look at the structure of how people live. They need water, hospitals, and schools at affordable rates. That’s the biggest palliative you can give to Nigerians.