CSR is mandatory for all corporate bodies ,says Hon Osoba

By James Isaac



The House of Representatives on Tuesday 25 June, 2024 held a one-day public hearing on, “A bill to regulate corporate social responsibility in Nigeria and for other related matters.”

The sponsor of the bill Hon. Olumide Osoba who is representing Abeokuta North/Odeda/Obafemi-Owode Federal Constituency of Ogun State, while speaking on the essence of the bill said that, it is meant to hold all corporate bodies responsible to the communities within which they operate to their social responsibilities.

According to him, when the bill become law, all companies in mineral exploration and exploitation will have a constituted board within the companies that will streamline corporate social responsibilities activities within the host communities, with the communities stating their needs.

Shedding more light, he said that, the bill is not a tax, as its stated clearly that within the companies’ constituted board, the money generated will be used to carry out corporate social responsibility.

“Government is not taking any money from them but they will show what they have done with it. Then that commission will act as a bridge between them, community and government to check if what they have done is commensurate with the percentage they are expected to put into the communities they are extracting solid minerals and are getting revenue from.

“So the bill doesn’t say they are going to be taxed, they are going to use a percentage to do CSR and they will show the commission when it becomes law”Rep Osoba stated.

On the issue of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) holding all corporate bodies to their social responsibilities, the lawmaker opined that what CAC is doing was very vague as it is not all encompassing but optional.

He added”Everybody claimed to have carried out CSR and whenever they do any CSR do they take back any evidence of the CSR to CAC ? no they don’t. The truth is that we need checks and balances, a gate keeper, get all the documents submitted we will now have on field inspectors to go and inspect what has been done.

“This is just about transparency and accountability which looks like what they don’t want because they know they can always tell CAC they they have spent 100million and send pictures”.

He allayed the fears of the process being hijacked by politicians who may determine what the companies will do in their communities by saying that;”the bill is emphatic that the companies will constitute a board to handle their CSR. So companies that have a board, part of the board will form a board of CSR, does it then mean that politicians will now hijack the board? that is alien to me, your board is going to sit down decide with the communities what they need and you come to and agreement that this is what this community wants. I will give you an example, you have quarries and they destroyed the roads in their locations and they get away with murder , they are raking in a lot of money yet all the roads are in bad shape, the communities don’t even have pipe borne water , no primary heath centres, the children are learning under trees yet you are raking in 100million, 200million every month from your current services. That is what we want to stop. All these big companies saying we have done this, we have already done that, there is no problem. What about all those companies who are not engaging at all, so we should leave them alone because you are doing CSR?. Show us the evidence then you can move on, the ones that are not doing it we make sure that it is mandatory and they do it”.

On the issue of implementation, Hon. Osoba said that all other acts that have just some few lines or paragraphs dedicated to CSR will now be harmonized with the current bill which will make it watertight and will hinder any corporate body from abdicating its responsibilities and will serve as a safeguard for CSR in Nigeria.

Earlier, in the session the committee expressed displeasure with companies, agencies and organisations which failed to honour the parliament’s invitation, saying that going, forward all legal measures will be employed to ensure that they appear when summoned.

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