By NBF News

There appears to be discordant tunes concerning the actual state of health of the electronic platform, on which Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) executes its transactions. Grave concerns expressed in some quarters show that the version of Horizon, a New York Stock Exchange trading software platform that feeds the NSE data centre, could malfunction and, therefore, unreliable.

While authorities of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) say that the platform is obsolete and incapable of meeting current challenges of a dynamic and growing capital market that can be described as a world class, the Chairman, Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), Alhaji Rasheed Yussuuf, insists that even in the next two years the platform would remain serviceable.

ASHON, the umbrella body of Chief Executive Officers and Managing Directors of dealing member firms of the Exchange, and the group whose strong views on issues of the capital market are respected, is headed by Yussuuf. Both stakeholders spoke at different occasions.

Briefing newsmen on Thursday, Director General of SEC, Ms Arunma Oteh, said 'We at the SEC have been aware of the challenges of the trading platform of the Exchange. Indeed in our inspection last year, it was one of the observations that we made. We had asked in March that the US SEC should do a peer review of our capital market. That is one of the issues that they raised we should quickly do something about.'

Incidentally, the trading platform had malfunctioned earlier in the day before the media briefing in which the SEC boss announced the appointment of Emmanuel Ikazobor and Ballama Banu as the interim NSE DG and the President of Council of the Exchange respectively. Oteh added: 'What I have been told today (Thursday) was that at some point during the trading, that there was an issue with the trading platform. But I was excited about what the brokers told me which is that the problem was resolved much faster than ever been done before.'

She said that SEC had a technology team that was come in with the interim administrators to make sure that the trading platform which is really the bedrock of the Exchange was at the level that is world class.

But in an exclusive interview with Daily Sun, ASHON chairman, stated that the problem with the trading platform was that of a language barrier following the transfer of the platform to new vendors that are not English Language literate.

According to Yussuff it would take an interpreter who must serve as a go between to resolve even the least of challenges posed by technology, pointing out that it used to be different when the original vendors were managing the platform. The ASHON chairman who said that he was part of the committee working on the migration to a new wholly NSE wholly owned platform disclosed that the committee had received a barrage of bids from technology vendors from Asia, Europe and America stressing that the committee was taking time to do a thorough due process towards engaging the best for the Exchange.

It was reported that the cost of the existing platform powered by a Canadian company run into staggering N6 billion and the cost of outright migration to a new platform would cost much more.