The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has pledged the support of his ministry for the efforts by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to publicize the Commission’s Master Plan, which it is currently implementing.
Speaking when the SEC Director-General, Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja on Friday, the Minister, however, advised the Commission to also approach the broad spectrum of the media to enlist their support in the advocacy.
“I will also advise you to please meet other stakeholders in the media and here I am going to recommend in particular the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria and the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, I will also want you to meet with the Financial and Business Editors.
”In addition, I will advise you to take advantage of the various platforms we have…NTA, FRCN, NAN, VON and the National Orientation Agency,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed commended SEC for its drive to promote transparency in the Capital Market, saying that the Federal Government is currently extending the transparency drive to the state governments to ensure good governance and accountability.
“For instance, we have now said for any state to qualify for any sort of bailout or help, that state must meet 22 objectives and all are about transparency. For the first time in the history of Nigeria, we are now asking states to publish their audited accounts, budgets and they should let us know their internally generated revenues. This idea of transparency is the only thing that can drive the economy,” he said.
In his speech, the SEC Director-General said the Commission has started implementing its Master Plan.
”What we did last year is to look at some of the low hanging fruits, particularly some of the concerns expressed by the retail investors. We have been vigorously enlightening people on the Electronic Dividends where we have been telling investors to approach their banks so that they can download the form on the Electronic Dividends. Once they complete the form, dividends will be paid directly into their account,” he said.
Mr. Gwarzo said the old practice of sending Dividend Warrants to retail investors to claim their dividends is no longer convenient, especially due to distance and, in some cases, the change of address, which makes it difficult to trace the investor.
He said due to such challenges, over N80 billion has been tied down as unclaimed dividends, hence the need to be innovative in creating access for the retail investors to receive their dividends.
The SEC Director-General said the Master Plan has 101 initiatives aimed at growing the Nigerian Capital Market in terms of the number of companies enlisted, market capitalization and profitability.
He appealed to the government to encourage companies operating in the country to enlist in the Capital Market by providing some incentives for them, saying 60% of corporate taxes paid in Nigeria are by listed companies.