SEC to make Nigerian capital market electronically driven — Gwarzo

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it is working assiduously to make the Nigerian capital market electronically driven.

Director-General, Mr Mounir Gwarzo, while speaking on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja on Sunday said that the e-system would help the commission realise some of the objectives of the Capital Market Master Plan 2020.

“One of our initiatives in the master plan is to ensure that our market is highly electronically driven.

“The issue of giving certificates should now be a thing of the past.

“And I am happy to report that as at last year, we have been able to dematerialise 97.5 per cent of all the certificates that are with the registrars.

“Before June last year, only 40 per cent were dematerialised, but we insisted that all share certificates that are with registrars must be dematerialised and must be sent to the CSCS (Central Security Clearing System).’’

He explained that with the measure in place, it would no longer take investors a long time to obtain their certificates.

“Some five to ten years ago, it takes you between six months to one year to get your certificate verified and we said this cannot continue to happen.

“That is why we are pushing for dematerialisation; that henceforth, any company that issues shares, the ownership of those shares must be represented in a certificate form.

“We are also having issues with the provisions of CAMA, because the Companies and Allied Matters Act provides that when you buy shares you must be given a certificate.

“Part of the things we are saying is that of enlightening people on the need for them to get their certificates to be dematerialised, so that it is a willing thing you are doing.

“Also, if there is any primary issue, there is usually a proviso that you are now exempting the issuance of certificates so that you will not go against the provision of the law,’’ he said.

The director-general stated that the commission is looking into the cases of some companies that have failed to hold their Annual General Meetings or declare dividends for their shareholders,

“We have directed NSE to look at all these issues and they have looked at them.

“They have invited the companies because there are some companies that have not held AGM for quite a while, which is a violation of the provisions of CAMA and a violation of the listing requirements.

“NSE is going to engage those companies to know why they have not done that.

“Certain actions will certainly be taken,’’ he said.