By Peter Egwuatu
Mrs Bisi Bakare, Chairperson, Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria
I think regulators are too harsh on companies with the numerous and high amount of fines they impose on companies. The money that companies pay as fine is shareholders own. So I feel regulators should be soft pedal on the fines they impose on companies. It is the employees that somehow flout some of these rules.
Why should shareholders bear the brunt? Also, the amount of fine they charge these companies need to be reviewed. For instance, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for a single offence, charges not less than N50 million. This is really too much and is affecting the amount that would have been given us as dividend.
Boniface Okezie, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria
I have always said that regulators should find the reason why some of these companies are going against some of these rules. It is not the best imposing fine and not finding the cause. I believe that something may have occurred to these companies before they will go against the rule. Though, we cannot rule out some negligence on the part of operators. So if regulators are able to find the cause, then they should be able to state it in the annual report so that shareholders can hold those in charge responsible. Also, the amount the regulators charge for offences should also be looked into as offences differ too. The Central Bank of Nigeria and even Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON is charging the banks too much and this must be checked.
Shehu Mallam Mikail, National President, Constant Shareholders Association of Nigeria
It is a great concern that companies are paying huge money as fine to the regulators. I am of the opinion that regulators should fine companies that do not follow the rules of the game. There are penalties that are worth giving. When companies are violating the rules of the game they should be punished accordingly. I hope that will make them to do the rightful things required of them. However, the amount of the fine imposed is what can be criticized and reviewed. The regulators should collaborate to determine the amount that should be imposed on offences committed by operators. In that way, we can say that companies that are found wanting are treated fairly.
Alhaji Gbadebo Olatokunbo, shareholder Activist
Some companies and nonchalant to the rules of the game and prefer to do things their own way. So, regulators can extend their harmers on those entities. The issue of penalties should not be generalised. When companies play foul game they should be brought to book. I don’t tolerate companies that do not comply with regulatory rules. As per the amount of penalties, the regulators should have minimum standard stipulated so that the players will know. The amount should even be high so that it will discourage companies from flouting the rules of the game.