Wednesday, February 11, 2015 4.57PM/SEC
With a goal to boost investor confidence and deepen corporate governance practices in Nigeria, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to release a landmark Corporate Governance Scorecard for listed companies in the country. This will be the first of its kind within Nigeria’s financial system according to Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, the Acting Director General of SEC who hosted members of the Institute of Directors (IoD) Centre for Corporate Governance at his office in Abuja. The Corporate Governance Scorecard will assess the level of compliance with the SEC Code of Corporate governance by Nigeria’s public companies on an annual basis.
Mr. Gwarzo 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”.
Last year, the SEC intervened to resolve a corporate governance crisis at Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), taking a leading role in strengthening the institution and Mr. Gwarzo believes that 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”, Mr. Gwarzo said.
During his remarks, second Vice President of the Institute, 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 Mr. 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”. While expressing gratitude for the support the Institute enjoys from the SEC, the delegation entreated the Acting Director General for even further collaboration.