Ms. Arunma Oteh
By Goddy Egene
Capital operators under the aegis of Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON) last Friday stated that the decision of the National Assembly to pass the 2013 appropriation bill without allocating funds to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is a big threat capital market recovery and the development of the economy in general.
While passing the N4.987 trillion 2013 budget last Thursday , the House of Representatives decided to withhold funding for the commission over following its earlier decision not to have anything to do with the apex regulator until its director-general, Ms. Arunma Oteh is removed.
However, speaking on the development on behalf of other members, Chairman of ASHON, Mr. Emeka Madubuike, said the issue should be resolved so as to avoid jeopardising the entire economy
Madubuike, who said starving SEC of funds meant incapacitating the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market, therefore called for a dialogue between the National Assembly and Executive to amicable resolve the issue.
“The issues the National Assembly is talking about should be resolved with the Executive. We believe they are issues that could be resolved in the interest of the capital market in particular and economy in general,” he said.
According to him, institutions should be built and not individuals.
He noted that SEC was one of such critical institution that must be built.
His words: “If this issue is not resolved as soon as possible, we will have a situation where the capital market does not have a regulator. The clause in that bill is very strong and it means SEC cannot even move and nothing can happen. And this will not be in the interest of the market. For us as market operators, we believe that this issue should be resolved very quickly one way or the other.
“The National Assembly and the Executive need to sit down and the overriding interest of the economy must be upper most in their minds so that this market can continue on the recovery part.
“We have done a lot in the recent years and we are at point where it looks as if the market is on the right track. Therefore, anything that will jeopardise that recovery is something that will not augur for us. That is the position we have as a body and trade group in the capital market,” he said.
Explaining the House of Representatives’ position, its spokesman, Mr. Zakari Mohammed, said it would not touch SEC budget until and unless all its resolutions on SEC were implemented in their entirety by the executive.
He reiterated the Houses’ position that it would have no dealings with SEC under Oteh.
“If we (House) resolve and we have done our findings and say this is the situation, of course, we don’t have the authority to say let her go, but we will always meet. It is like a child who has offended his parents. They will meet at the dinner table. In SEC’s case, we have met at the dinner table and we want to see what monies will be used to run SEC in the year coming,” Mohammed said.
Mohammed faulted the view bandied in select quarters that legislative resolutions were mere advisory, as, according to him, resolutions have the force of law.
“Even though people will say it is mere advisory; it was not advisory when we had the doctrine of necessity that brought up the first beneficiary who are the executive arm today. The Senate is with us on this matter; Oteh must go as far as we are concerned. If she doesn’t go, we won’t touch the budget. We still maintain that stand; it has not changed.”