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SEC to launch corporate governance scorecard

Japaul moves to raise N20bn through special placement

In a bid to ensure that companies operating in Nigeria’s capital market perform well, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is to launch its corporate governance scorecard.

This was disclosed by Mounir Gwarzo, ag. director-general of SEC, when he received members of the Institute of Directors Centre for Corporate Governance in Abuja, Tuesday.

According to Gwarzo, compliance of these companies with the tenets of corporate governance will in turn translate into better returns and better service delivery among others

The launch of the scorecard by the Commission, which will probably be the first by an institution in the financial system in the country, underscores the importance the Commission attaches to corporate governance, Gwarzo said, saying that as the Commission goes along, its ambition in the very few years to come is to see that every operator complies with corporate governance.

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He said the Commission was consulting on it and that the intention was to make sure that before we launch the corporate governance scorecard in the next couple of weeks, we would have consulted widely with the relevant bodies.

In his words: “Corporate governance is very close to our heart and we believe that collaboration with you will further propagate the advocacy in terms of its importance. I can assure you that we are ready to collaborate with you.”

Gwarzo said if there was any institution in the capital market that should be the champion of corporate governance, it should be the SEC because of our important role as regulator in the Nigerian capital market, recognising the wide coverage that the SEC’s had both within the SROs, the trade groups, quoted companies and the operators.

One of the things the Commission has done in the last few years was to ensure that any operator that was registered with SEC had a compliance officer, no matter how excellent other officers are, he said, stressing that firms will not be able to ascertain the level of their compliance with the code when they do not have a compliance officer.

Expatiating further, he recalled the intervention by the Commission in Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), which he said translated into better management of the bank.

According to him, the issue then was purely a corporate governance affair and the bank has since realised the critical role corporate plays in an institution.

The Commission has a department specifically overseeing corporate governance both for quoted companies and that it is also extending it to other institutions.

He assured the IoD board members that the Commission was willing to give them all the support they required because it was a partnership that SEC Nigeria will benefit a lot from, given its role in the Nigerian capital market.

“We have a role to play in the Nigerian capital market to ensure that companies do well. By the time every company and institution imbibes the culture of good corporate governance, it will translate into better returns, better service delivery among others,” Gwarzo said.

Speaking earlier, Ahmed Rufai Mohammed, second vice president of the Institute, commended the SEC in its efforts to rescue the Nigerian capital market in the aftermath of the challenges of the global financial crisis, which also affected Nigeria’s economy.

Mohammed, who is also chairman of IoD’s Centre for Corporate Governance, said although a lot was being done by the SEC working in unison with the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) to sanitise the capital market, he noted that a lot still needed to be done, especially in the area of corporate governance.

He said there was increasing pressure on the need for a continuous realignment of Nigeria’s business practices to conform to international best practice, adding that it was in this context that the IoD centre of governance was striving to promote good governance by all corporate organisations.