Dr Olisa Agbakoba SAN, Senior Partner, OAL, chaired the Panel discussions on the above theme at the recently concluded 2015 Investment and Securities Tribunal Workshop in Lagos.
The Capital market was recognized as an engine of economic development. Government was urged to raise the profile of the capital market. Participants expressed shock that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was seen as a key actor in the Financial Services Sector and not the capital market. The capital market, it was argued, was more important than the CBN. It was resolved that there was a need to encourage government to play a stronger role in developing the capital market.
The Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) is an independent specialized judicial body, originally established under Section 224 of the now repealed Investments and Securities Act (ISA) No. 45 of 1999, but currently having its enabling statutory provision under Section 274 of the Investments and Securities Act No. 29 of 2007. It has jurisdiction, original and appellate, to interpret and adjudicate on all capital market and investments civil disputes. Participants at the IST Workshop 2015 noted that the IST was critical in investment decisions because a fast and efficient mechanism to resolve commercial disputes given confidence to any investment plan. It was agreed that there was a need to strengthen the framework by either constitutional or legislative amendment and make it able to render its decisions without Executive interference.
It was also observed that appointment of members of the tribunal by the Minister of Finance derogated from the efficacy of its decisions. Participants agreed that major constitutional and legislative amendments must be effected to give the IST members independent and secure tenures. They requested Dr. Ngozi Chianakwalam, the Chairman of the Investment and Securities Tribunal to constitute a technical working Group to advice on how the IST can be strengthened. It was also felt that there was a need to create awareness of the existence of the IST. Participant further noted the prominent role the IST can play concerning the perception of investors with respect to the Ease of Doing Business in the country.