Uche Usim, Abuja

The Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda, on Monday expressed the desire of the Commission to automate its processes in a bid to conform to current technological trends the world over as well as ensure a more efficient capital market.

Yuguda, who stated this during a meeting with the Minister for Communication and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Ali Pantami in Abuja, said: ‘Presently, we have a lot of documents and papers being brought to the Commission for one approval or the other, we think that if we can digitalise our processes and these documents are transmitted to us electronically, it will make it easier for the market that we regulate and also stimulate growth.

‘If we can achieve that, it will also reduce cost and increase efficiency, that is why we are here today to discuss with you on areas we can work together to achieve this.’

The SEC boss stated that the advent of COVID-19 has shown what can be achieved with technology, as during the period since March, the capital market has been working in spite of lockdowns and effects of the pandemic.

‘Remember that when the lockdown started, the Commission activated its Business Continuity Process which saw the staff of the Commission working remotely while all our electronic channels remain open to provide the necessary support to capital market stakeholders.

‘They should also continue to disclose the trend and outlook for the company, and updates on implementation of business continuity plans. Public companies are to publish these disclosures on their websites and on other relevant media.

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‘We also told Public companies who plan to conduct AGMs to ensure that the conduct of the meetings complies with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the Investments and Securities Act, the SEC Rules and Regulations, relevant government and health circulars and guidelines issued in this regard.’

The SEC DG stated that it will continue to engage and collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure that the capital market remains resilient.

Earlier in his remarks, the Minister for Communication and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Ali Pantami, expressed the readiness of his team to collaborate with the SEC in automating its processes, adding that the present administration is committed to promoting a digital economy.

He said: ‘With this lockdown, we have seen the advantages of digitalisation of processes, that is what has kept us going when everyone was locked down in their homes. We are currently at the forefront of promoting the digital economy.

‘We are very happy to look into areas that we can assist in digitalising your activities to ensure a better capital market. Digitalisation will certainly make processes easier and that is why we are championing it.’

Pantami said even the Federal Executive Council, FEC has embraced technology as its meetings are now held virtually due to COVID-19.

‘Mr President has embraced it fully and same with the Honourable Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who is very passionate about technology and we know that she will support the SEC in this drive. It is even safer to automate and there is no better time than now to do it. We need to sit down and brainstorm on the model that will work well for the SEC and come up with modalities on how to deploy it,’ he added.