The Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy says it is ready to collaborate with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) in its process automation, as part of the Federal Government’s commitment to promoting a digital economy.
The Minister, Isa Ali Pantami, who spoke during a meeting with Lamido Yuguda, Director-General of the SEC in Abuja, Monday, said the ongoing lockdown has shown the advantages of digitalisation of processes.
That, he continued, “is what has kept us going when everyone was locked down in their homes. We are currently at the forefront of promoting digital economy,” even as the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has embraced technology with its meetings now held virtually due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“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.”
President Muhammadu Buhari, he continued, “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.
Yuguda expressed the commission’s desire 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.
The SEC DG stated that it will continue to engage and collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure that the capital market remains resilient.
Automating most of the commission’s processes, he stressed, would also make the capital market more investor friendly, adding that “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,” stressing that the advent of COVID-19 has shown what can be achieved with technology.
As a result of the lockdown that followed the outbreak of the pandemic since March, he said, the Nigerian 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 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.
“We also told Public companies who plan to conduct AGMs to ensure that the conduct of meetings complies with provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), the Investments and Securities Act (ISA), the SEC Rules and Regulations, relevant government and health circulars and guidelines issued in this regard.
Photo caption: Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Ali Pantami (middle), stressing a point to Director General of the SEC, Lamido Yuguda (left), and Assistant Director of the commission, Bagudu Waziri (right), during a meeting between the commission and Minister of Communications and Digital Economy in Abuja on Monday.