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Ex- ICAN boss seeks review of capital market operations

By Clarkson Eberu
30 September 2009   |   2:06 am
A COMPREHENSIVE review of capital market operations has been canvassed by the former President of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Otunba Abdul-Lateef Owoyemi, to bolster the nation's financial sector.

Owoyemi also a past President of Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria (IMCON), specifically prescribed strategic focus on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), under the operational review agenda.


The renowned consultant, at a seminar organised by IMCON, said that government, corporate bodies and the general public should be devoted to moving the Nigerian economy forward, through proactive management of the capital market.

Delivering a paper titled: "Global Financial Meltdown, Collapse of Nigeria Stock Market Effects and Derivatives", Owoyemi suggested that the status of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) as a private enterprise should be carefully re-evaluated to achieve more accountability to the millions of unsophisticated investing members of the public who need better protection.

He said that no employee of the NSE should own directly or indirectly, any interest in any stock broking firm or registrar.

He hinted that while it may be lawful for senior managers of the NSE to serve on the boards of publicly quoted companies, such partisan involvement could only rob negatively on the public image and integrity of the NSE. "Nigeria is not yet of the sophisticated level to appreciate such sophistry or high logic", he added.

Owoyemi insisted that efforts must be made to elevate the culture of integrity and professional independence on the part of Nigerian stockbrokers.

"The wheelings and dealings and insider abuses, now rampant amongst some of them, ranks them alongside unregistered estate agents and other charlatans.

"The SEC’s involvement in the activities of the stock market should become more intimate and proactive. It now appears too remote, one-handed and reactive.

"Comprehensive enquiries should be made by panels of independent professionals into every stock, the price movements of which appeared irrational or unrealistic between January 2007 and June 2009.

"Any one found to have engaged in serious malpractices should be subjected not only to seizure of assets, but also long terms of imprisonment," he said.

Owoyemi stressed that serious efforts should be made to sanitise the stock market in the interest of the investing public, on the likely risks, rewards and the need to always seek sound, independent professional advice, before dabbling into stocks and shares, whether quoted or unquoted.

"Regulation and supervision of the nation’s banks and other financial institutions need to be more robust and dispassionate. No liabilities should any more by "off balance sheet" and the CBN should now have Bank Examiners Academy, staffed by well qualified former and retired bank examiners, to train and retrain its own and the banks’ inspectorate employees," he added.

He urged the Federal Government to make more money available for infrastructural developments through the provision of high- speed rail system, roads network, power supply, expanded air and seaport facilities.

He added that most government contracts should henceforth specify the employment of a specified number of Nigerian graduates, in order to reduce unemployment and spread wealth in the country.

Owoyemi also stressed the need for government to diversify from crude oil export into agriculture, manufacturing and services, within the next five years in its efforts to become the one of the leading economies in the world by year 20-2020.

He stated: "There is a crying need for an urgent manpower reduction at the three levels of government so as to achieve say within three years, by all levels, at the least, a 50/50 mix between capital and recurrent expenditures. We cannot continue to fritter away all the monthly allocation on staff salaries and overheads."

Speaking also at the event, the Director General of Centre for Management Development (CMD), Dr. Joseph Maiyaki believed that this topic should have been discussed earlier than now.

He said that CMD was committed promoting human capital development in Nigeria.

According to him, the centre is ready to contribute its own quota to enable government achieve seven point agenda and be among the top leading economies in the world by year 202020.

"We are making sure that the manpower required by the country is provided. We have the opportunity to develop our capacity. We would make sure that we train our manpower to surpass the best in the world. I hope that government recognize what they are doing", he added

He said that his dream was to make the CMD the best training institution in Africa, noting that such an aspiration would be realised if the centre were given the necessary backing.

He therefore urged members of IMCON to set up a pressure group who would continuously issue press releases suggesting ways to move the Nigeria economy forward.

By Roseline Okere