Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has described the proposed “Nigerian Financial Centre Bill, 2011” before the National Assembly as an act of over legislation that is very clearly in defiance and in conflict with the Nigerian Constitution.
The Governor, who spoke with newsmen after the 10th Executive/ Legislative Parley with the theme, “Towards Perpetuating the Culture and Practice of Excellence” organized by the Political and Legislative Powers Bureau held at the Orchid Hotels, Lekki, added that there is
doubt about whether it is possible to legislate the existence of a Financial Centre.
“We think the intent and purport of the legislators in the bill itself is probably well defined in the activities of the Stock Exchange, the Security and Exchange Commission, the Central Bank and other agencies of the Government.
“Perhaps more importantly, there is doubt about whether you can legislate the existence of a Financial Centre. Is the legislation aimed at achieving a geographical entity for it or the creation of an agency to create the regulatory framework?” he asked.
The Governor explained that the proposed law also purports to set up a court for itself as an appellate court adding that this is clearly in defiance of the Constitution noting the Parley critically examined the issue and came to the conclusion that the idea that Lagos is the financial centre is one that is difficult to debate.
“By location, by activity, by the number of banking institutions, by the number of financial institutions, the number of trading platforms, by the location of the Stock Exchange, the number of industrial concerns, the ports, the investment dispositions, it doesn’t need any legislation to define,” he explained.
According to Governor Fashola, the same applies in London as against Liverpool, Paris as against Nantes, adding that this is the time to perhaps take a second look at legislations that were passed during the period when there was no legislative arm of government and the executive appropriated to itself the power to make laws for Nigeria.
He explained that it was at that period that the Lagos Stock Exchange as it started out became the Nigeria Stock Exchange in a unification move, underscoring the need for the nation to go back to what is best global practice.
The Governor reiterated that in other jurisdictions, what is available is the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange and there is nothing like the American Stock Exchange just as there is no German Stock Exchange while there is a Frankfurt Stock Exchange and so on.
Giving more examples, he said there is nothing like the British Stock Exchange, but the London Stock Exchange noting that a similar trend should be followed here consistent with best global practices adding that those are issues that some of the legislators will take on board to their various legislative bodies.
The Governor was flanked during the interview by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Adeyemi Ikuforiji and Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba while the Parley itself was well attended by members of the National Assembly representing Lagos State, members of the State Executive Council and the Lagos House of Assembly as well as party leaders and eminent resource persons.