By Peter Egwuatu
Capital market operators and other stakeholders yesterday made a clarion call for amendment of some sections of the new Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) as a precondition for revival of the Nigerian capital market.
The operators and stakeholders stated this during the first hybrid 2020 conference of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, CIS in Lagos with the theme: “Navigating through the Storms-Reenergizing the Economy through the Capital Market”
The new CAMA has been under attack by different stakeholders over some of its sections that are anti-Investment. One of the most incisive discussion was the examination of the new CAMA by a key speaker, Co-founder, Banwo and Ighodalo and Chairman, Sterling Bank, Mr. Asue Ighodalo who made a critique of the new CAMA in its presentation on “Rebirth of CAMA: Implications for the Capital Market Ecosystem”, explained that much as it contains many sections that would enhance the growth and development of the capital market, there was a need to review some new sections that could inhibit the market growth.
He said: “Whilst CAMA 2020 amends and addresses a number of the loopholes and problem areas in the repealed Act, and also tried to revise our companies’ statute to bring same in tune with the 21st century, it would appear that the introduction of some oversight provisions and concepts suggest overregulation of companies and company practices. Some of these excessive regulatory provisions actually impede transactions in the market.
“ Section 142 of the Act provides that a company shall not in any event allot newly issued shares unless they are offered in the first instance to all existing shareholders of the class being issued in proportion as nearly as may be to their existing holdings. The applicability of this provision does not distinguish private and public companies.
The implementation of this provision will pose significant problems for public companies seeking to raise capital by the issuance of new shares. In undertaking such capital raising transactions, public companies would not be able to make public offers or undertake private placements without first making an offer to all their shareholders.
This amendment has raised concern amongst operators, corporates and investors, and is a significant deviation from the provision of the repealed Act which only specified pre-emptive rights for private companies.”
In his welcome address, the President, CIS, Mr. Olatunde Amolegbe, explained that finding solutions to Nigeria’s economic problems was at the heart of this year’s conference objective.
Amolegbe noted that Nigerian stockbrokers had skills and competencies that positioned them to assist the government in providing solution to funding infrastructure deficit.
“ I should at this juncture inform the general public that the scope of stockbroking, or the skill content of Chartered stockbrokers goes far beyond the traditional and popular securities trading activity typically associated with them. Stockbrokers are all-round investment experts.”
Addressing the participants, the Chairman, House Committee on Capital Market, Honourable Babangida Ibrahim explained that the Conference would add value to the search for a fruitful and rewarding economic template that would bring about sustainable growth and development of Nigeria.
Another key speaker, Mr Bola Ajomale, the Managing Director, NASD PLC, spoke extensively on “ Alternative Investment: How to Invest when Traditional Options Taper”, listed the benefits and drawbacks of alternative investments.