Covid-19: SEC Tasks Companies on Full Disclosure to Investors

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Goddy Egene

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has urged all listed companies to continue to make material disclosures to investors despite the lockdown order by the federal government in Lagos, Ogun States and Abuja.

The lockdown order has shut down business except the financial sector where permission was given for skeletal services. Trading in the stock market has been remotely since last week, while most players have activated various business continuity processes.

However, SEC, which is the apex regulator of the capital market said all public companies are required to continue to make material disclosures to investors on the impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on their business operations.

“They should also continue to disclose the trend and outlook for the company, and updates on implementation of business continuity plans. Public companies are to publish these disclosures on their websites and on other relevant media. Public companies who plan to conduct annual general meetings (AGMs) are required to ensure that the conduct of the meetings comply with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the Investments and Securities Act, the SEC Rules and Regulations, relevant government and health circulars and guidelines issued in this regard,” the commission said.

SEC added that debt issuers should continue to engage Trustees to ensure that relevant disclosures are provided, stressing that Trustees are required to provide updates to the commission accordingly.

“ All capital market operators (CMOs) are required to continue to monitor the real and potential risks COVID-19 may have on their business operations and the discharge of services to investors and clients. In compliance with the federal government’s directives on the cessation of movement in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, the commission has activated its business continuity process. Consequently, staff of the Commission are working remotely. All its electronic channels remain open to provide the necessary support to capital market stakeholders. The commission will continue to engage and collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure that the capital market remains resilient,” SEC said.

Meanwhile, trading at the stock market remained bearish as the second quarter begins. The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index declined 0.94 per cent to close at 21,100.54 following losses by Dangote Cement Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc. Market capitalisation shed N104.2 billion to close below the N11 trillion mark at N10. 9trillion.

However, activity level was mixed as volume traded fell 63.4 per cent to 154.4 million units while value traded rose 2.5 per cent to N1.8 billion.