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House of Reps threaten to sanction MTN, Airtel for failing to honour invitation 

The House of Representatives Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility (SCR) has threatened to sanction telecommunications companies, MTN and Airtel for failing to honour their invitation.  

Rep. Oby Orogbu, the Chairman of the Committee said this during a public hearing in Abuja on Tuesday on “a Bill to regulate corporate social responsibility in Nigeria”.  

According to her, MTN, and Airtel, had several times ignored the invitation of the Committee. Orogbu said the telecommunications were being invited to come and brief the Committee on their CSR initiatives.  

Warrant of arrest 

She said that the committee had no choice but to invoke its powers by issuing a warrant of arrest. She, however, gave MTN and Airtel the last warning to honour the committee’s invitation or face the arrest warrant. 

“Section 89, 8 of the Constitution mandates individual companies as invited to make themselves available to parliament, but they break the law. 

“I want to tell MTN and Airtel that they take so much from our nation and they feel too big to appear before the parliament; we will not tolerate that. 

“We gave them the powers to operate in Nigeria, so to refuse to honour the invitation of the parliament is a no-no; we take exception to it. 

“I have taken all friendly measures to make them understand the need to appear before the parliament, but they have refused.” 

“If you feel you are responsible, then you should appear before the parliament. We want you to be responsible and accountable,” she said. 

She said that despite operating from across the country, they had disrespected the same nation by not honouring the House invitation. 

Stakeholders react to CSR bill 

According to the Committee, the CSR bill being considered is to make provisions for sanctioning Nigerian companies that are defaulting in performing CSR.

The Committee’s Chairman noted that some companies operating in the country have over time violated the existing law, hence the need for punishment to be imposed on them. 

However, the representative of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria at the public hearing, Mr. Wondi Ndanusa, expressed concern about the proposed penalty of imprisonment for defaulting companies, stating that the penalty should rather be persuasive. 

He also said that many companies were faced with a lot of financial burdens and responsibilities, adding that the proposed SCR should be domiciled with the Corporate Affairs Commission. 

Mr Bala Wuoir, the representative of the Oil Producers Trade Section, expressed concern that the PIA already mandates oil companies operating in Nigeria to make a financial contribution of 3% of their profits to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). 

He said that mandating them do so again would be burdensome, adding that oil companies should be exempted from the bill. 


Source: Naijaonpoint.com.

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