Market operators tasked on corporate governance principles

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Listed companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange have been urged to imbibe good corporate governance and accountability in their operations.

Uba Group

This is in a bid to accelerate the growth of the market and increase both domestic and foreign investor participation.

Speaking at the inauguration of the board of the Securities and Exchange Commission in Abuja last week, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, who is also overseeing the office of the Minister of Finance, said the Nigerian capital market was growing and evolving, and that, to sustain this growth, and eventually transform it into a world class capital market, transparency and investor confidence were important.

He said, 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 and transparent due to robust investor base, 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 meritocracy and promote good corporate governance, innovation and entrepreneurship,” he said.

“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, and catalysing housing finance,” Isa-Dutse added.

He noted that the inauguration was coming at a time when many players in the market were displaying weak corporate governance practices, which could potentially dampen investor confidence and undermine the steady gains achieved since the 2008 stock market crash.

He, therefore, urged the board members to play their part as crucial enablers in the industry towards advancing a common vision for the growth and revitalisation of the market.

The permanent secretary said, “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 the 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.”

In his remarks, Chairman of the SEC Board, Mr. Olufemi Lijadu, emphasised that capital markets were very important in the socio-economic development of any nation as they played 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 re-enforce the public trust. I therefore enjoin everyone to help us towards building a capital market that this country deserves.”

In her remarks, Acting Director General, SEC, Ms Mary Uduk, expressed delight at the inauguration of the board, which she said would assist in moving the capital market forward. She welcomed the new members and expressed optimism that they would bring their wealth of experience to bear in the running of the Commission and the market.