Business Hilights

Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

NSE Zainab

NSE now technologically, commercially-driven multi-asset Exchange hub—Onyema

Ad 2
Ad 3

…As Minister lists targets of new Finance Act

The Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr Oscar Onyema, Monday in Lagos described the observable results of reforms he has been driving at the Exchange as having repositioned “the 60-year old institution into a technologically and more commercially-driven multi-asset Exchange hub ready to support Africa’s largest economy into the era of the 4th industrial revolution.”

This is as the visiting Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed, in her address highlighted key objectives of the new Finance Act recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to her, the target gains of the Act include but not limited to promoting fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation; Reforming domestic tax laws to align with global best practices; Tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets; Supporting Micro, Small and Medium-sized businesses in line with our Ease of Doing Business Reforms; and raising Revenues for Government.

Explaining more in his welcome address during the visit of the honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed to the Exchange, he said “I must balance the IMF’s comments with Nigeria’s GDP numbers that were released just this morning by the National Bureau of Statistics reporting a Q4 2019 GDP growth performance of 2.55%, which is the highest quarterly growth since the recession in 2016 and culminating in a full year 2019 growth rate of 2.27%.”

“Putting this side by side our annual population growth rate of about 3%, the message still remains that we have our work cut out for us as a nation and the economy must grow at over 8% – 10%; and control inflation to single digit rates, if we must enjoy robust real per capita income growth.

“This is not a short-term task but a long-term one and we look forward to the sequel to the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) to address this existential economic threat of a sustained slow growth. Suffice it to say that the government’s fiscal and monetary reforms over the past 2 months have shown some intent at tackling the nation’s challenges. In particular, we note the clauses in the Finance Act 2019 and how they better recognize the income generating status of micro, small and medium scale enterprises – thereby taxing them appropriately.

“First, the NSE All Share Index outperformed Exchanges globally, with a return of 7.5% ytd in January 2020. The Exchange is still posting positive returns of 2.04% ytd as at Friday.

Second, we recently launched the NSE Growth Board to encourage companies particularly SMEs with high growth potential to seize the opportunity of raising long term capital and promote liquidity in the trading of their shares.

“The Board presents an avenue for these companies in their growth phase to leverage the NSE’s platform and varied products and services to achieve their long-term business objectives. The Board is designed to offer relaxed entry criteria as well as less stringent ongoing listing requirements and allows for greater accessibility to capital flows, global visibility, and credibility through corporate disclosures.

“Third, our journey to becoming a demutualized entity is in its final stages, with a Court-Ordered Meeting and an

Extraordinary General Meeting slated for March 2020. As we transform operationally and institutionally, we are confident in becoming even better positioned to support the government in raising the right-sized and long-term developmental capital required for financing its economic objectives.

“Apart from supporting capital raising efforts of government through innovative products such as the Green Bonds (and it is important to mention that Nigeria is the first country in Africa to issue Green Bonds); the NSE has also developed a framework that supports the issuance, listing and trading of tax credits; in order to complement the Road infrastructure development and refurbishment investment scheme.

We are equally positioned to unlock significant investment value for the nation through the listing of public utilities and state-owned enterprises, as well as promote the knowledge economy in terms of public sector capacity building through our technology-based learning management system – the NSE X-Academy.

According to the chief executive of the Exchange, “Through our Government Relations activities we will continue to partner and engage with the government to advocate for policies that deliver an enabling business environment for the Nigerian Capital Market and the economy at large.”

Responding, the elated minister assured Nigerians that with the latest growth figures, the economy has once again, returned to the aggregate growth trajectory of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and enjoined market players and stakeholders to do more in growing stock market investments and confidence.

Business Hilights is an online news channel conceptualized and structured to report and track on a daily basis; latest developments in critical business sectors to serve as a one stop news gateway for governments, foreign and indigenous investors.