The lingering nature of this issue exacerbates the urgency for comprehensive corporate governance initiatives. As the problem persists, the vulnerability of businesses to potential ethical lapses and exploitative practices increases. Without a robust governance framework, the risk of market manipulations, price gouging, and unscrupulous practices rises, compounding the challenges faced by both businesses and consumers. The severity of the situation necessitates a collective and immediate response from the business community, one that goes beyond profit considerations and embraces a commitment to ethical conduct, transparency, and responsible business practices.
The need for effective corporate governance in the current climate cannot be overstated. The absence of sound governance structures may lead to a downward spiral, undermining the integrity of markets, eroding consumer trust, and exacerbating economic inequalities. A proactive approach that integrates ethical considerations into decision-making processes is imperative to ensure that businesses not only weather the storm but contribute to the collective resilience of Nigeria. In the absence of such initiatives, the repercussions of the escalating food prices may extend far beyond economic strain, potentially hindering the nation's path to sustainable development and societal well-being.
Corporate Governance Initiatives to Alleviate Pressure
1. Ethical Pricing Policies
Ethical pricing policies form the bedrock of responsible business conduct, reflecting a commitment to fairness and transparency in commercial transactions. At their essence, these policies ensure that the pricing structures employed by businesses are justifiable, transparent, and aligned with principles of integrity. Ethical pricing goes beyond profit margins; it establishes a moral compass, guiding businesses to set prices that consider the well-being of consumers and the broader community. By prioritising ethical pricing, businesses not only foster trust among consumers but also contribute to a more equitable and sustainable marketplace. This commitment to ethical conduct resonates with the principles of corporate governance, underlining the importance of transparency and integrity in every facet of business operations.
Initiative: Develop and enforce transparent pricing policies. Nigeria does not have a specific agency or government parastatal dedicated solely to commodity price control. The regulation of commodity prices often falls under the purview of multiple government bodies, including the Ministry of Trade and Investment, the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).
The FCCPC, in particular, plays a role in protecting consumers from unfair trade practices and ensuring fair competition in the marketplace. It has the authority to investigate and enforce regulations related to pricing, false advertising, and other consumer-related issues.
It's important to note that having a separate agency or state department that regulates commodity price control could be useful in curbing household-level inflations.
Implementation: Ensure that pricing structures are justifiable and communicated clearly to consumers. Ethical pricing fosters trust and aligns with sound corporate governance principles.
2. Supply Chain Transparency
Implementation: Implement measures to trace and disclose the journey of products from source to shelf. Transparency minimises the risk of price manipulation and ensures fair business practices.
3. Stakeholder Engagement
Implementation: Conduct regular forums for open dialogue with consumers, suppliers, and regulatory bodies. This fosters a sense of shared responsibility and allows businesses to adapt strategies based on real-time feedback.
Implementation: Prioritise suppliers who adhere to ethical and environmentally friendly standards. Corporate governance extends beyond profit margins to encompass social and environmental responsibilities.
Implementation: Understand the socio-economic implications of pricing decisions. Consider community well-being in corporate decision-making, contributing to a more sustainable and resilient society.
Implementation: Explore partnerships with financial institutions to create programs that provide financial relief to both consumers and smaller businesses within the supply chain.
Research & Advocacy Department,Chartered Institute of Directors (CIoD), Nigeria,
28, Cameron Road, Ikoyi, Lagos