Financial experts have called for a robust Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) that should promote cooperation among stakeholders and ensure corporate governance.
The experts spoke during a workshop in Lagos organised by Joint Shareholders Association (JSA) to discuss the bill to amend the CAMA, which is currently being exposed by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
A shareholder activist and Head of Chambers at O.S Ephraim Oluwanuga & Co, Mr. Sola Ephraim-Oluwanuga said shareholders associations should not subdued in the proposed CAMA.
According to him, the shareholders associations have come to stay, noting that though they have their challenges but the challenges would be surmounted.
He urged the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to take a second look at some of the proposed amendments and ensure they do not form another layer of compliance, which will disturb the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
“The CAC should lay more emphasis on oversight rather than getting into the arena of operations. It should measure the risk and cost of amendment vis-à-vis the benefit derivable”, he said.
However, he advised the shareholders association to quickly set up a governance structure to address perceived weaknesses otherwise it will be left behind.
In his own presentation, Professor Ige Bolodeoku of the University of Lagos argued that the proposed reform reflects some improvement on the shortcomings of the existing framework.
He said: “Its empowerment of shareholders as the only members of the committee is unarguably aimed at protecting the interest of the shareholders.”
Bolodeoku also pointed out that there are many areas left unattended to which may eventually undermine the intended value the proposal is designed to add.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) an experienced corporate lawyer, Mr. Anthony Idigbe said the amendment that makes shareholders as the only members of audit committee should be reviewed. He said directors of the companies should also be included, suggesting that instead of the current situation where it is three shareholders and three directors, the shareholders should be made to have more slots.
In his presentation, a former director of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr. Abatcha Bulama recommended the adoption of corporate governance code by public companies to reduce breach of company laws, regulations and guidelines.