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Shareholders task SEC Board on 10-year master plan

By Helen Oji
02 July 2019   |   4:07 am
Following the recent inauguration of the Board, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), shareholders at the weekend...

Securities and Exchange Commission

Following the recent inauguration of the Board, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), shareholders at the weekend, stressed the need for members to pursue vigorously the implementation of the 10-year master plan of the capital market to restore investors’ confidence.

Besides, the shareholder also urged the apex regulator to focus more on monitoring listed firms to ensure compliance with laid down rules and regulations.

The shareholders, who spoke in separate interviews with The Guardian, argued that if the master plan were followed head-on with active involvement of key stakeholders, it would help double the market size and grow the economy.

The Capital Market Master Plan is a blueprint for the development of the local bourse in core areas such as investor protection and education, professionalism, product innovation, and expansion of its role in the economy.

The master plan was also instituted to help catalyse the emergence of Nigeria as one of the Top 20 global economies. Since the inauguration of the Nigerian Capital Market Master Plan (2015-2025) in 2015, only 13 of the 99 initiatives have been implemented.

Specifically, the Publicity Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association, Moses igbrude, said the plan outlines broad initiatives that are considered the main policy framework guiding the capital market development, efforts to achieve full implementation must be intensified to meet the delivery target and realise its objective for the market.

According to him, the few initiatives already implemented from the master plan have strengthened market development and innovativeness.

“The new board must ensure good corporate governance by listed firms; they should engage these companies on regular basis, to ascertain their challenges, and take them to policymakers to enable them formulate good policies that will enhance businesses of these listed firms.

“By so doing, government can help these companies in the areas of addressing multiple taxations, high interest rates, infrastructure deficiency and policy inconsistencies and other factors that inhibits business operations in Nigeria.”

The President, Ibadan Zone Shareholders Association, Eric Akinduro, urged the new board to introduce policies that would enhance minority investors’ protection.

Akinduro noted that shareholders have lost their investment due to unfavourable government policies, and forceful takeover of listed firms, and stressed the importance of finding a lasting solution to the increasing level of unclaimed dividend in the market.

“The new board must be ready to listen to minority shareholders particularly in the area of corporate governance. The interest of investors should be paramount. They must ensure an all-inclusive board.

“Again, the market is very volatile in respect of information dissemination, so harmonisation of information and operation with market operators and other regulatory bodies is needed to forestall over-regulation, and avoid pronouncements that could impact negatively on the market.”

For the President, New Dimension Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Patrick Ajudua, the new board must initiate strong policies that would enhance transparency and integrity of listed firms, as well as ensure strict adherence to corporate governance principle.

“We are glad at the inauguration of the board of SEC. We strongly believe that with this development, the regulators will perform its statutory functions and give proper direction to the market. Our expectations as shareholders are that the new board will redirect the affairs and conduct the Commission in line with core mandate of being the capital market regulator.

“They should be proactive in checkmating the excesses of directors and infringement on rules. They must ensure justice without fear or favour, and adhere to the principle of fair-hearing,” he added.

After four years of operating without a supervising board, the Federal Government recently inaugurated the SEC board to supervise the affairs of the Commission.

At the inaugural ceremony, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, who is also overseeing the office of the Minister of Finance, urged listed firms to imbibe good corporate governance and accountability in a bid to accelerate market growth, and increase both domestic and foreign investor participation.

Isa-Dutse said the inauguration is coming at a time when many players in the market are displaying weak corporate governance practices that could potentially dampen investor confidence, and undermine the steady gains achieved since the 2008 stock market crash.