By Nkiruka Nnorom
The Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mounir Gwarzo, has called for a strict compliance with Corporate Governance codes by companies operating in the country.
This is even as the Commission has expressed its readiness to collaborate with relevant bodies to ensure good corporate governance in the nation’s capital market.
Gwarzo stated this when the executives of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) visited him in Abuja
Gwarzo said that as an institute that is vital in the promotion of corporate governance in Nigeria, ICSAN has a major role to play in safeguarding the rights of shareholders.
He said, “We have very onerous responsibilities to enforce corporate governance and in doing this, collaboration is very important. When you look at the market, our scope is wide, apart from the quoted companies; you are also looking at about 800 or 1000 operators. When we finish with the quoted companies, we also want to extend the code and the compliance to all registered operators.
“What we started some few years ago was to say that any operator that is to be registered in the market must have a compliance officer. However excellent the sponsored individual has done, once your compliance officer has not met our minimum requirement, that fund will not be registered and the compliance officer has a lot of responsibilities. Apart from the normal requirements in terms of returns to other regulatory institutions, it is also to ensure that the right Corporate Governance practice is being implemented.”
He said a new corporate governance code for the capital market would soon be launched by the commission.
“We don’t want to launch this code and there would be difficulties and so we need to put deliverables in place. One of the things that we have done is training and so far, over 70 per cent of quoted companies have attended that training.”
The DG disclosed that the Commission will embark on enlightenment campaign to ensure the issue of good corporate governance is taken to the next level.
“We are very keen and committed in ensuring Corporate Governance. All over the world, people believe that what is key now for any company to survive and to grow is when it has a very robust Corporate Governance framework. Thinking is moving beyond having an excellent financial, it is actually on the governance. Scholars believe that once you have excellent governance and you have done it in such a way that you have complied with all the relevant requirements in terms of election of board members and things are done appropriately, there is no reason that institution will not grow to a high level” he added
The ICSAN President, Mr Nat Ofo, while speaking at the meeting expressed the readiness of the institute to partner with SEC in entrenching good corporate governance.
He said, “The essence of this visit is to smoothen the relationship between SEC and ICSAN
“We felt that it is better to have this discussion and review the things that we can do together. This will enable us draw out the areas we can work together particularly in the area of corporate governance.