SEC DG, Arunma Oteh
By Goddy Egene
More stakeholders in the nation’s capital market have emphasised the need for the ad hoc Committee of the House of Representatives on the Capital Market to be diligent and thorough in the public hearing on the market that will begin tomorrow.
The market probe, which initially began on March 13, 2012, was halted following bribery allegation against the former Committee led by Hon. Herman Hembe.
An eight-man ad hoc committee headed by Tukur El-Sudi, was set up to take over the public hearing.
As the exercise begins tomorrow, stakeholders have said it should be thorough and comprehensive instead of selective exercise since it is meant to draw lessons from what led to the sorry state of the market and make recommendations for its revival.
For instance, a market analyst, Mr. Abiodun Hakeem, specifically said that the public hearing to be a comprehensive exercise, there was the need for past leadership of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to be called upon to explain their roles while in office since crisis began during their tenure.
“It will be a selective process if the public hearing is limited only to the current leadership of the SEC and NSE and this can be interpreted in some quarters as a witch-hunt knowing full well that the current leadership of the capital market was not on the saddle when the near-collapse of the market occurred”.
According to him, the committee, through the probe should behind answers questions bordering on: market integrity issues that precipitated the fall; the many recorded cases of fraud and market abuses, which were prevalent at the time of the market collapse among others.
Before now, some stockbrokers and investors had given their advice on how best to conduct the public hearing so as to resuscitate the dwindling fortunes of the market.
A fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) and Managing Director of Investment Centre Limited, Mr. Ifeanyi Odunwa, said that the Committee should approach the assignment with utmost urgency, fairness and diligence.
Odunwa said: “The public hearing can be adjudged to be successful if the committee focuses on the remote and immediate causes o of the near collapse of the our capital market and obtain suggestions from all stakeholders and relevant professionals on how best to resuscitate it as well as moving it forward.
“The issues at stake go beyond personal and mundane matters but on wellbeing of the national economy of which the stock exchange is the heartbeat.”
According to him, the committee and Nigerians should know that foreign investors are watching the unfolding scenario, adding that the market still needed government’s intervention of some sort.
Another broker and Chief Responsibility Officer of Value Investing Limited, Mr. Seye Adetunmbi, noted that the committee should focus on the real issues that affected the market negatively.
“They should focus on known infractions and how to deal with culprits with dispatch. The committee should also charge regulators to be up and doing in order to prevent excesses of operators in the future,” he said.
A shareholder activist and General Secretary of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Mr. Adebayo Adeleke, urged the committee to conduct a public hearing and not a probe of operators or regulators.
“The committee should maintain its integrity and not to be intimidated by the burden of the previous committee. The committee should conduct a public hearing and not a probe. It should not self-defeat the purpose of engendering investors’ confidence,” Adeleke said.
The President of Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS), Dr. Faruk Umar, urged the committee to concentrate on how the market should be revived.
“The current DG of the SEC has taken positive steps in trying to bring confidence back to the market including review of the Code of Corporate Governance and speedy resolution of complaints from shareholders. She has also made companies to submit their quarterly results or be suspended. If this committee wants to investigate SEC, why should it be limited to the Oteh’s tenure when the market collapsed even before she was appointed. The investigation should include the tenures of her predecessors,” Umar said.