Firms blame CBN, NAICOM for suspension on Nigerian Stock Exchange

Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE)

Two firms suspended from trading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Fortis Microfinance Bank and Guinea Insurance, have said they were unfairly sanctioned.

The firms were among 17 suspended last week from trading on equities for failing to file their various financial statements promptly.

While Fortis Microfinance Bank blamed the suspension on the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for delaying the approval of the company’s audited statements, Guinea Insurance Plc said the delayed approval of the firm’s financial statement by the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, led to their inclusion in the NSE hammer.

On July 7, the NSE suspended 17 listed companies thereby making it impossible for their investors to trade or do any business with their stocks.

The sanctions were imposed on the companies for failure to comply with the regulatory provisions of the law on corporate governance and extant post-listing guidelines.

The named companies include: African Alliance Insurance, Equity Assurance, Fortis Microfinance Bank, Guinea Insurance, Premier Paints, Resort Savings & Loans, African Paints (Nigeria), Aso Savings & Loans, Ekocorp, Evans Medical, Goldlink Insurance, Great Nigeria Insurance, Omatek Ventures, Union Dicon Salt, Union Homes Savings & Loans, Universal Insurance Company and Sovereign Trust Insurance.

The NSE said the companies failed to file their annual financial accounts and operational reports in line with the requirements in the listing rules at the Exchange.

But on Monday, a member of the executive board of Fortis Microfinance Bank who gave his name as Samuel confirmed the sanction. He added that the suspension was temporary and should not be a cause for worry to customers, accusing the CBN of delaying the approval of its audited accounts, a reason why it could not be submitted to the NSE.

Fortis Microfinance Bank appeared third on the list of suspended companies.

In his reaction, Hanson Ufot, a spokesperson for Guinea Insurance Plc explained that the firm’s financial account was due for approval by NAICOM on July 6 but was not approved on the set date and hence the NSE’s sanction on July 7.

The approval however came on the July 11 according to another statement issued by Pius Edobor, the Executive Director of Finance and Administration for the firm.

“The approval was contained in a letter signed on behalf of the commission by its Director (Supervision), Mr. O. Oba dated 6th July, 2017 and captioned: Approval For Publication Of Year 2016 Annual Returns And Accounts.”

This approval came on the same day that the NSE lifted the suspension on Sovereign Trust Insurance, one of the affected companies.

Other controversies trailing the NSE’s action is the claim of the Universal Insurance Company, which is 17th on the list, to be unaware of the suspension.

A spokesperson, who declined giving his name in a phone interview with PREMIUM TIMES said the company had not received any letter of suspension from the NSE and therefore could not confirm or deny the story.

Also, a customer care representative of the Aso Savings and Loans, who identified herself as Kemi, declared that the firm is a mortgage bank and therefore ‘shouldn’t have been on the list in the first place.’

All efforts to get the spokesperson of the NSE, Joseph Kadiri, and that of the CBN, Isaac Okoroafor, to react were unsuccessful.

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