Nigeria’s SEC publishes new rules

Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has new rules, according to local press. The new rules, signed by Director General Ms Arunma Oteh, became effective from 1 April and reportedly cover:
• Appointment of directors of market operators,
• Bond issues: rules such as conditions to approve Initial Public Offer and listing by introduction, conditions for approval of offers and handling of certificates, rules on corporate and government (state and local) bonds, and cuts in SEC fees for the registration of bond issuance, as well as
• Money market fund rules
• Rules which regulate mergers, takeovers and acquisitions and can order the breakup of a company.
• Set Primary Market registration fee at 0.15%.
The SEC has set deadlines of 30 April for a wide range of companies to publish results. Public companies shall publish “signed” quarterly balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statements in at least one National daily newspaper, while the accounting policies, notes and other relevant information shall be posted on the company’s website which address shall be disclosed in the newspaper publication.
The SEC has directed 143 companies and others not listed, whose shares are quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), to publish their audited or quarterly results on or before Friday, April 30, 2010. “Financial statements should therefore, be released in the format specified by SAS 30, IAS 34 and the SEC rule B4 (4), to the public, NSE and the commission at the same time.”
Any Company, the SEC warned, “that fails to file the report within the stipulated period would be penalised in line with the provisions of Section 65 of the Investment and Securities Act No. 29 of 2007.”
It reminds companies that such timely financial information serves as the basis on which the investing public takes timely investment and other decisions.
In line with this resolve, the SEC has invited company secretaries and financial controllers of quoted companies to a one-day meeting on 28 April “to address the lingering problem of non-rendition of quarterly and half yearly returns and the attendant penalties such actions attract.”

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