Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) has called for an urgent review of the 1977 decree which changed the Lagos Stock Exchange to Nigerian Stock Exchange, saying it “negates the global standards”.
Speaking to journalists at the end of the technical session of the 10th Lagos Executive/Legislative parley on Friday, Fashola noted that across the world, stock exchanges are named after their host cities.
The governor, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), however, blamed the military for the unilateral name change and stressed the need for a review of legislations that were passed during the military era when there was no legislative arm of government and the executive appropriated to itself the power to make laws for Nigeria.
“I think the time has come for us to begin to look at the legislation that was passed during the military administration that is decrees and acts. I think that was when the Lagos Stock Exchange became the Nigerian Stock Exchange, in unification for the country”, Fashola stated.
He added that “Perhaps there is the need for us to go back to what is best global practice because we have the Johannesburg, Paris, New York and we don’t have the American Stock Exchange or German Stock Exchange while there is a Frankfurt Stock Exchange and so on.”
“There is nothing like the British Stock Exchange, but the London Stock Exchange” he adds, noting that a similar trend should be followed in Nigeria consistent with best global practices.
“Those are issues that some of the legislators will take on board to their various legislative bodies” he said for all the legislators representing Lagos state at both state and national assembly”.
On the proposed bill at the National Assembly for the creation of the Nigeria International Financial Centre, NIFC, Fashola argued that the lawmakers might be ‘over-legislating’ because the measure runs contrary to some provisions of the 1999 constitution.
The bill seeking the establishment of the NIFC, which is expected to gulp N5.69 billion, according to the financial compendium attached to the bill, passed second reading on the floor of the Senate last May.
When eventually passed, the legislation is expected to give birth to three separate agencies, namely, the Nigeria International Financial Centre Authority (administrative body); Nigeria Internal Financial Centre Regulatory Authority and the Nigeria International Financial Centre Judicial Authority.
But Fashola said, “we have looked at the bill and we think that there is a tendency that there may be over legislation on the bill.”
“The intention of the bill is well defined in the activities of Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Security and Exchange Commission, (SEC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other agencies of the central government.”
He added that “there is also doubt about whether one can legislate the existence of a financial centre. Is the legislation aimed at achieving a geographic entity for it or the creation of an agency to create regulatory frame work?” Mr. Fashola asked.
“It also seeks to set up an appellate court. It is very clear in defiance and in conflict with the constitution itself.
“The idea that Lagos is the financial centre for the country is one that is hard to debate due to the location of the stock exchange and the number of industries in the state. It shows that it doesn’t need any legislation to define”.