The Acting Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Ms Mary Uduk, said a new code of corporate governance for shareholders associations in the country will soon be unveiled. She disclosed this at the second edition of the symposium by the Issuers and Investors Alternative Dispute Resolution Initiative (IIADRI) in Lagos.
Uduk, who was represented by Mrs Hafsat Rufia, Deputy Director Lagos Zonal Office, in her good will message to the participants, that converged on the theme Nigerian Tax Laws: Matters Arising, said that the Commission is reviewing the current code of conduct for shareholders’ associations and upon conclusion; it will be exposed to the public for comments.
She explained that “in order to improve corporate governance, corporate bodies are enjoined to continuously comply with the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance and file annually with SEC, the Corporate Governance Scorecard. It is also worthy to note that SEC is working on a guideline to strengthen corporate governance of public companies”.
Adding that “The SEC being the apex regulatory body of the Nigerian Capital Market saddled with the responsibilities of regulating and developing the Capital market is delighted at the initiative of IIADRI in organizing annual symposia aimed at enlightening the public on varying issues. This is considered very important as we believe that participation of stakeholders in the capital market will be boosted as their knowledge improves”.
On the symposium theme, she said “SEC working with other stakeholders, engaged the FIRS through the National Tax Implementation committee and various working groups to drive advocacy on issues such as securities lending, tax on insurance companies, excess dividend tax, tax on Real Estate Investment Schemes/Trust (REIS/REITs) and minimum tax. This engagement has yielded some results as shown in the provisions of the 2019 Finance Act”.
She noted that “Specifically, the new Finance Act has removed bottle necks such as tax on manufactured dividends which had been a major disincentive to securities lending. In addition, the Act now permits Insurance companies to carry over their tax losses like other companies, unlike in the past where they were restricted to carrying over these loses for only four years. The 2019 Finance Act also provides that dividends paid out of retained earnings, exempted profits, franked investment income and REIS are no longer taxable and stipulates that minimum tax is amended to 0.5% of turnover”.
According to her “The changes in the Act were targeted at promoting fiscal equity, reforming domestic tax laws to align with global best practices, introducing tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets, supporting micro, small and medium-sized businesses and raising revenues for the government”.
Pointing out that “SEC remains committed to creating an environment that enables efficient capital formation and investor protection. Fora such as this are therefore welcome as they serve as platforms where innovative ideas can be discussed and solutions proffered by stakeholders in order to contribute to the nation’s economic growth and development”.