Nigeria : Senate to review capital market laws

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The Nigerian upper legislative chamber, the Senate, has pledged to review the country’s investment laws as they affect the capital market in order to keep it in tune with current global environment, the senate capital market committee chairman, Ganiyu Solomon, said Tuesday.

“We will soon carry out a comprehensive review of the laws governing the operations of the market as contained in the investment and security act, so that it will be in consonance with the present demands,”Solomon said during a visit to the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The Investment and Security Act of 1999 set out the roles of market operators, regulators, stockbrokers and the investing public. It also stipulates sanctions for any violations of the laws.

The committee chairman, while commending the NSE management for transforming the organisation as one of the best in Africa, also assured that the review would accommodate all shades of views and would be in favour of all.

This is the first of such visits since the new administration came on board in May 2007.

The visit is part of the oversight function of the lawmakers. It will avail the team the opportunity to have a first hand knowledge of the exchange operations, the central securities clearing house system limited (CSCS), a subsidiary of NSE and interact with stockbrokers.

Speaking during the visit, NSE Director General, Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, sought the support of the lawmakers in coming up with legislations that will enhance the market operations and encourage investments.

With the rising profile of the Nigerian Stock Exchange in the International capital market, the exchange management stressed the need for effective harmonisation of the existing laws to enhance the growth and development of the market .

The exchange has consistently advocated for abrogation of Value Added Tax and Stamp Duties among others because they serve as disincentive to investment.

The Doyen of the Nigerian Stockbrokers, Olu Odejimi, described the amount fixed by the regulatory body and the time frame giving to recapitalise as too short the money not realistic. He solicited the support of the capital market committee members to intervene.

In 2007, the apex regulatory authority in the capital market, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) increased the capital base for all stockbrokers initially from N70 million to N250 million.

Just as the stockbrokers were protesting the increase, the regulatory body came up with another directive that it has increased the capital base to N1 billion, w ith a time frame of two years for all the stockbrokers to comply or lose their licences. Panapress .

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