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SEC Moves to Drive Infrastructure Financing

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Lamido Yuguda, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has said that the commission will be focusing on infrastructure financing via the capital market in the new year.

Yuguda said this over the weekend at the third quarter post Capital Market Committee press briefing held in Lagos.

He said, “The goal of the Commission in 2024 is to refocus attention on how we can galvanise capital market money into financing infrastructure.

The president mentioned recently that a $1tn economy was possible in three years by 2026. And a $3tn economy is possible by the end of this decade, and I am one of those who firmly believe that this goal is possible.

“This country has what it takes to really do it. This is the direction of the government and this is what the Securities and Commission is doing to galvanise the market to help finance infrastructure. This is one area we focused on yesterday (at the CMC meeting), we actually set up a group to look at what we need to do to further this process.”

The SEC boss added that the group would meet before the end of the year.

Speaking on delisting in the capital market, Yuguda, said while some companies like Union Bank, PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc, Glaxo SmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc and others are in the process of delisting, there were still high cap stocks on the market with the Commission seeking to attract more listings.

He said, “Actually I’ll make a correction, actually the elephants are running in. You mentioned Union Bank and also a few other companies that have actually exited the market. We sat down and did the math.

“If you take in the last few years all the companies that have exited and take their market capitalisation. That is the total value of their entire shareholding, compare it with those of the new companies that came into the market; the ones who exited they are less than two per cent.”

Speaking further, Yuguda said,” So today in the Nigerian market, the companies that are really driving the market in terms of market capitalisation are not exiting, they’re actually coming in and they’re coming in in droves.

“What we need to do is given the market capitalisation where it is, we actually need to raise it higher. And that was that 50 per cent target. That is really what we need, to have more and more of these companies.”

At the media briefing, it was also revealed that the SEC has received the support of the national assembly to facilitate the passage of the Investment and Securities Bill, which strengthened the role of the Commission, made provision for the commodities exchange market as well as increased the sanctions for Ponzi scheme operators.


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E-Financial

Crypto Exchanges Begin Delisting Naira from P2P Platforms- SEC

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Crypto exchanges have commenced delisting of the Naira from Peer-to-Peer (P2P) trading platforms, following directives of the Office of the National Security Adviser and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Crypto Exchanges Begin Delisting Naira from P2P Platforms- SEC

P2P trading in the realm of cryptos is a decentralized method that allows individuals to buy and sell digital assets directly with one another.

In this system, P2P trading platforms serve as intermediaries, facilitating secure and trust-based transactions.

SEC explained that its checks have indicated that the Naira has been removed as a fiat currency option for transactions on KuCoin platform and the exchange has already begun the necessary adjustments to its technology to accommodate the delisting of the Naira as soon as practicable.

It explained that the removal of the Naira from the platforms limits the ability to manipulate the exchange rates against the Nigerian currency which is expected to further strengthen the value of the naira.

Dr. Emomotimi Agama, acting director general of SEC, reacting to the delisting by KuCoin, expressed delight that the crypto exchanges were heeding the directives of ONSA and SEC, describing it as a welcome development.

He stated: “We are happy that they have started complying with the directives by the ONSA.  We ask that those involved in sharp practices that undermine national interest should cease and desist. It is in our interest as a people to protect what belongs to us.  Anyone that disobeys directives should be ready to face the full weight of the law”.

Agama added that as the apex regulator of the capital market, “SEC is co-operating  with the Office of the National Security Adviser, the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other relevant agencies to achieve the national objective of making sure that illegality is not allowed to thrive”.

 

 

 


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E-Financial

Court Backs Banks to Collect Customers’ Social Media Handles

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A federal high court in Lagos has struck out a case against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over its directive requiring banks to collect and verify social media handles as part of their know-your-customer (KYC) requirement.

Court Backs Banks to Collect Customers’ Social Media Handles

In June 2023, the apex bank issued the directive, saying the aim is to prevent financial crime, and terrorism, as well as boost the precision and thoroughness of customer identification.

Chris Eke, the applicant and a customer, represented by Olubunmi Abayomi-Olukunle, a lawyer, had filed suit number FHC/L/CS/1281/2023 in July 2023, arguing the CBN’s directive infringed upon constitutional rights, particularly section 37 of the 1999 constitution.

Nnamdi Dimgba, presiding judge, struck out the suit filed by Eke, which sought a declaration that the regulation as contained in section 6(a)(iv) of the CBN (customer due diligence) Regulations, 2023, is “undemocratic, unconstitutional, null and void”.

The CBN, in its response to the suit, filed a notice of preliminary objection, challenging the competence of the suit and disagreeing with the claim of interference with the applicant’s private life.

In his judgment, Dimgba held that the notice of preliminary objection had merit, subsequently striking out the suit.

The judge ruled that providing a social media handle is equivalent to providing email and phone numbers for potential customers, and therefore, it does not violate the right to privacy.

“First, the applicant claims that the requirements on the CBN regulations for financial institutions to request and collect the social media handle of its customers as part of KYC infringes on his right to privacy,” the judge said.

“This claim is very ambitious and amounts to a very far throw. The said regulations are directed to and apply to financial institutions.  It does not apply to private individuals such as the applicant.

“Even if, as appears to be argued, that the regulations itself would inevitably affect the applicant, this claim is speculative for the simple reason that in nowhere in the affidavit in support was it stated that the applicant operates an account with a financial institution and that the said institution had demanded his social media handle.”

Consequently, the judge said the suggestion that he would be negatively affected by the regulation is very “speculative and at large”.

He said there is a lack of evidence suggesting financial institutions have implemented the regulation, and it is causing disruptions and inconvenience.

Furthermore, Dimgba said if the applicant is “irritated by the requirement of the regulation”, he has a choice to “refuse to do business with any bank insisting on the information as part of its social media handle, but to seek other alternatives”.

PROVISION OF SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES TO BANKS DO NOT TRANSLATE TO BREACH’

Dimgba said banks asking customers or potential clients to provide their social media handles is not a breach of privacy.

He said the essence of having a social media account was for one to be publicly visible communication-wise.

According to the judge, a social media handle, being in the public space, can be accessed by everyone whether or not consent was obtained.

As a result, he said it would be unreasonable to hold the respondent in breach of privacy.

“The apprehension of the Applicant of his social interactions being monitored is manifestly speculative in itself and rather incredulous to believe that the financial institutions have the luxury of time to concern itself with such frivolities,” the judge said.

 

 


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CBN Grants Approval to 14 New IMTOs  to Spur Liquidity

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that it has granted 14 new International Money Transfer Operators, IMTOs Approval-in-Principle (AIP) to double foreign-currency remittance inflows through formal channels amid foreign currency crisis.

CBN Grants Approval to 14 New IMTOs  to Spur Liquidity

Hakama Sidi Ali, acting director of Corporate Communications, CBN, disclosed this in a statement that the he initiative will help increase the sustained supply of foreign exchange in the official market by promoting greater competition and innovation amongst IMTOs, lowering the cost of remittance transactions and boosting financial inclusion.

CBN’s thinking is that increasing formal remittance flows, which are one of the major sources of foreign exchange and account for over 6 per cent of gross domestic product, would help ease the historical volatility in Nigeria’s exchange rate caused by external factors, such as fluctuations in foreign investment and oil export proceeds.

This will spur liquidity in Nigeria’s Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEX), augmenting price discovery to enable a market-driven fair value for the naira,” Olayemi Cardoso, the CBN Governor, recently disclosed the apex bank’s target to double remittance flows into Nigeria within a year, which he firmly believed was possible.

On Wednesday, the Naira recorded its first N61 gain against the dollar at the foreign exchange market for the first time after weeks of decline.

 

 


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