Photograph — Market Digest Nigeria

TheNigerian Stock Exchange has extended the time for quoted companies to submit their audited financial statements for the year ending December 31, 2019, a move meant to reduce the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it said in a circular issued on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. 

According to the NSE, the move is part of measures to reduce the business and economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak on the activities of Dealing Member Firms. “The Exchange understands that some of the internal governance, auditing and other processes including the engagement of external auditors to carry out the audit of DMFs, may have been disrupted due to COVID-19,” the Lagos-based bourse said.

The virus outbreak has already affected capital market obligations of some of the quoted companies such as the United Bank for Africa and Transcorp Plc, both of which this week postponed their respective annual general meetings.

Dealing members now have an additional sixty (60) day grace period for the submission of their Audited Financial Statement for the last financial year, which is due for submission on Monday, March 30, 2020. The new deadline has been set for Friday, May 29.

With the decision, the stock exchange has temporarily suspended provisions of Rule 7.4 (Submission of Financial and Non-Financial Reports to the Exchange) of the Rulebook of the Exchange, 2015 as amended. The rule requires every Dealing Member to submit its audited financial statements, “within ninety (90) calendar days of the end of the fiscal, and its quarterly returns within thirty (30) calendar days of the end of the quarter; and any other periodic report within the period stipulated by the Exchange.”

Meanwhile, the Exchange has implemented precautionary health measures across its offices as part of its response to the virus outbreak while a 30-day remote working plan for its employees, excluding essential staff, has been activated from Tuesday, March 24. 

“In order to give our dealing members enough notice, effective Wednesday, March 25, 2020, all our trading floors will be temporarily closed, although remote trading will continue and NSE staff will be available through all our digital platforms to provide support,” the bourse said, adding that “all physical meetings within and outside our office premises have been suspended until further notice.”

The Nigerian exchange closed Tuesday on a bullish note as the All Share Index rose by 0.19 percent, with investors gaining 21.86 billion. This signals a rebound in the equities market which opened the week on a negative note – on Monday, the ASI dropped by 2.24 percent while investors lost 259.23 billion.

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