A guideline that allows companies to hold their annual and other general meetings mainly through the use of proxies will expire by December 31, 2022.
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) yesterday said the guideline, which was introduced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, will cease to apply effective January 1, 2023.
Registrars-General (RG), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Alhaji Garba Abubakar, who spoke at a one-day stakeholder’s interactive dialogue with the theme: “CAC Guidelines on Proxies AGMS of Public Companies Post Covid-19: Matters Arising’, said all public companies that have been granted approval to hold their annual general meetings (AGMs) using proxies are expected to do so not later than December 31, 2022.
He said a public notice to this effect had been issued this week noting that the guideline on use of proxies by public companies in holding AGMs was issued to address the particular concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic and facilitate compliance by these companies with statutory obligations.
He noted that the compelling circumstances of the pandemic which necessitated the guideline had ceased to exist.
Abubakar urged public companies to ensure compliance to the new directive.
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“Notwithstanding whatever benefits holding AGMs by proxies may have afforded the companies, the option is at the instance of individual members of the company and may not be foisted on any member,” Abubakar, who was represented at the event by an Assistant Director, Mr Tolu Sonaike, said.
He commended Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), the organiser of the interactive dialogue, for being a proactive association committed to interest of its members and the economy at large.
The dialogue also featured the unveiling of the group’s Global Business Advocate Magazine.
Chairman, ISAN Universal Academy, Sir Sunny Nwosu, said that the association would continue to engage with market regulators for the development of the market and economy in general.
He said that ISAN would continue to set standard for other shareholder groups in the country.
He said that they dialogue aimed at retooling the new normal enthroned worldwide in 2020 through the global health challenge known as Corona virus or Covid-19.
“Covid-19 ushered in public health uncertainties that disrupted international economic order. The pandemic which touched all sectors of the economy led to a new normal that metamorphosed into remote operations.
“As the new normal evolved in response to Covid-19, the pandemic accelerated the mandate for digital revolution, as many companies embraced and adjusted to the use of remote technology,” Nwosu said.
Company Secretary, Julius Berger Plc, Mrs Cecilia Madueke said that AGMs by proxies introduced by the CAC due to COVID-19 had been helpful to public companies.
Madueke described AGMs by proxies as a product of necessity, noting that Nigeria would have been left behind by the global economies due to COVID-19.
She commended the CAC for stopping the initiative saying that it was no longer relevant.
President, Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ICMR), Mr Seyi Owoturo, said that AGMs by proxies was introduced by CAC to address physical distancing for a maximum of people as ordered by the federal government.
Owoturo represented by Mrs Cathrine Nwosu, Second Vice Chairman, ICMR, said that the guideline was very useful during COVID-19 which made it possible for public companies to hold AGMs like other countries of the world.
He commended ISAN for their contributions for towards effective holding of AGMs of public companies in our climes.