By Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government has urged listed companies in the capital market to imbibe good corporate governance and accountability in a bid to stimulate growth of the market and increase both domestic and foreign investor participation.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, who is also overseeing the office of the Minister of Finance, handed down the admonition at the inauguration of the board of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Abuja, Monday.
The Nigerian capital market, he stated, is growing and evolving, adding that to sustain this growth and eventually transform to a world class capital market, transparency and investor confidence were desirable.
According to him, like world class markets, the Nigerian capital market should be characterised by high levels of liquidity, depth, breath and sophistication with a strong domestic investor base.
“It should be innovative, transparent due to robust investor base. It should be innovative, transparent due to robust disclosure regimes, and efficient both in price discovery and in the allocation of capital.
“We must have it in mind that world-class capital markets do far more than provide access to capital. They are enablers of socio-economic development because they hasten the rate of capital formation, foster a meritocracy and promote good corporate governance, innovation and entrepreneurship.
“Thus, our capital market should broaden access to economic prosperity by enabling the emergence of financially responsible citizens, accelerating wealth creation and wealth distribution, providing capital to small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), and catalysing housing finance,” he said.
The inauguration of the SEC board, he noted, 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, and therefore urged the board members to play their own part as crucial enablers in the industry towards advancing a common vision for the growth and revitalisation of our market.
“The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to transparency and accountability in corporate governance. To this end, I must emphasise that the role of governing boards is to provide effective oversight and strategic adversary to management team. I would therefore like to advise all concerned to study and strictly adhere to laid down laws that have clearly defined the roles and responsibilities of the board members,” he added.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the SEC Board, Mr. Olufemi Lijadu, emphasised that capital markets are very important in the socio-economic development of any nation as it plays a critical role in attracting investments.
He said: “As we all join hands together to build our country, we need investments and the capital market plays a critical role in that respect. We need to see how we can move forward to have a more orderly market, a market that is fair and transparent and can attract investments to build Nigeria. We need a market that is attractive to investors, both local and foreign.
“We need a capital market where the rules are enforced and where the public who invests are all protected. We need to reinforce the public trust. I therefore enjoin everyone to help us towards building a capital market that this country deserves.”
In her own remarks, the acting Director General of SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, expressed delight at the inauguration of the board which she said will assist in moving the capital market forward. She welcomed the new members and expressed optimism that they will bring their wealth of experience to bear in the running of the Commission and the market.
The SEC board members are Olufemi Lijadu (Chairman); Mr. Lamido Yuguda (non-executive Commissioner); Mrs Rekiya Ladi (non-executive Commissioner); Mr. Okokon Ekanem Udo, representative of the Ministry of Finance; Mrs. Angela Adewumi Sere-Ejembi, represenative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and Ms. Mary Uduk, acting DG.
Others are Mr. Henry Rowlands, acting Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services; Mr. Isyaku Tilde, acting Executive Commissioner Operations; and Mr. Reginald Karawusa, acting Executive Commissioner, Legal and Enforcement.