By NKIRUKA NNOROM
The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, has said that it is set to launch a corporate governance scorecard for listed companies in the Nigerian capital market in line with its goal of boosting investors’ confidence and deepening corporate governance practices in Nigeria.
The Acting Director of SEC, Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, made this known while receiving members of the Institute of Directors (IoD) Centre for Corporate Governance at his office in Abuja.
Gwarzo said in a statement that the corporate governance scorecard will assess the level of compliance with the SEC’s code of corporate governance by Nigeria’s public companies on an annual basis.
He stressed the importance of corporate governance to the SEC and reeled out various initiatives by the apex regulator to strengthen corporate governance practices in Nigeria.
“Corporate governance is very close to our heart as an institution. Internally, we hold ourselves to the highest governance standards with our Board members submitting themselves to annual evaluations on corporate governance. In addition, we require all market operators to have competent compliance officers as a precondition for operating in the capital market,” he said.
The statement affirmed that last year, the SEC intervened to resolve a corporate governance crisis at Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), taking a leading role in strengthening the institution.
According to Gwarzo, the commission will continue to play similar roles.
“The SEC has the widest coverage when it comes to corporate governance covering all publicly listed companies and capital market operators. We should therefore be the reference point on corporate governance”, Gwarzo said. In his remarks, second Vice President of IoD, Alhaji Ahmed Rufai Mohammed, commended SEC for its efforts to restore investor confidence in spite of the current challenges in the global economic environment.
He said that although a lot is being done by the SEC and other market participants to sanitize the capital market, a lot still needs to be done especially in the area of corporate governance. According to Mohammed “The SEC was the first institution to introduce a Code of Corporate Governance which has positively impacted our work at the IoD. Since then, we have trained over 600 directors and have contributed immensely to improving the current debate on corporate governance”.