Philip Ejiogu Shines, As Bill For Establishment Of Corporate Social Responsibility Commission Scales 2nd Reading

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By Onyekachi Eze
Owerri North State Constituency has continued to be in the news for good, following the undaunted sound performance of the Member representing the Constituency in Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Amb. Philip Ejiogu.
Aside his numerous constituency projects and programmes, the Owerri North House member has moved bills and motions for the overall interest of Imolites.
The latest development was the successful passage of a bill seeking for the establishment of Corporate Social Responsibility Commission to second reading.
At the plenary session of the House, yesterday, June 23, 2021, the bill scaled through its second reading.
The bill which has been committed to Committee stage, according to the Lawmaker, when passed into law is aimed at addressing both Social and Public needs.
Leading the debate, the Chief Sponsor disclosed that the establishment of the Commission (CSR), would regulate the conduct of Corporate Organizations operating in the State.
Hon. Philip Ejiogu said the need to  regulate the Corporate Organizations will go a long way in ensuring that both host communities and operators are shortchanged in any way or by body or Government.
Citing some failures recorded in most oil host communities where operating companies failed to abide by agreements reached with host communities before they begin operations, Hon. Ejiogu stressed that such lapses would be adequately checkmated against such occurrences.
“It was due to lacuna in our laws such that the host communities could not be able to take to legal means to seek redress”.
From the excerpts of the bill, it’s structured into 3 major parts. Part One is the establishment of Imo State Corporate Responsibility Commission, setting up its Governing Board, defining functions of the Commission, and Service in the commission.
The Director General of the Commission will be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the secretary of the Board of Directors.
Part Two addressed Financial Provision for the commission; and Part three provided for Miscellaneous provisions.
Similarly, the CSR bill is structured in nine Sections. Among the functions stated in the bill for the commission are;
“To create a standard for social responsibility of corporate Organizations according to international standards of best practices;
“To integrate social responsibility in Imo State trade policies while respecting World Trade Organization, WTO rules, and eliminating trade barriers that could be created through bilateral, regional and multilateral agreements;
“To conduct research of host communities that could be undertaken by corporate players and to relate same with Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA);
“To serve notices of Corporate Social Responsibility request to Organizations”.
Others are; “To identify socially responsible behaviour in compliance with National and Community legislation on equality and nondiscrimination in all activities of companies;
“To implement social and environmental regulation consistent with convention and serve as inspection regime of these agreements;
“To carry out classification of corporate Organizations, ranking them according to organizational size and magnitude of investment, which shall determine the nature of corporate social responsibility expected of them;
“To publish annual reports of social and environmental impact of companies direct activities ‘on communities;
“To develop policies to encourage corporate Organizations to undertake Community engagements as part of corporate social responsibility, and ensure that companies sponsor cultural and educational activities that offer added value to Nigeria’s sociopolitical and technological development;
“Standardization of operations and elimination of extortion and intimidation of corporate Organizations and host communities as the commission will be the mediator for fairness to both parties, and lots more”.
Hon. Philip Ejiogu added that with the introduction of CSR commission in Imo State, the State will advance on the ranking of ease of doing business as many companies will migrate from volatile host areas to Imo State where relationship with host communities is regulated.
“This initiative will further help to douse tension in the region as people will have evidences of Corporate interventions and their activities become standardized and measurable”.
“The introduction of CSR is an intellectual ingenuity that proffers cogent solution to the harsh operating climate which is the major challenge of  few remaining corporate entities. It behoves on us to ensure that this bill is passed, which has scaled through second reading at the floor of the House and committed to House Committee on Youths and Social Development”, Hon. Ejiogu said.
However, the bill received the full nod of the State Lawmakers with strong debate that characterized the plenary session.