LEADING capital market experts and financiers have called for a comprehensive review of economic architecture to reintegrate economic policies with the country’s growth agenda.
In a review of the economic performance since independence and the evolution of the capital market, capital market stakeholders noted that while economy and the capital market have made commendable strides over the past six decades, institutional and policy gaps had undermined the country from attaining its full potential.
They called for policy realignments that redirect the economic focus to unlocking the full potential of the Nigerian economy, with particular attention to the important role of the capital market, globally regarded as the mainstay of long-term, sustainable economic growth and development.
Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr Oscar Onyema, said the Exchange, which was also founded in the same year of independence, remains committed to playing its part in nation building by stimulating economic growth.
He said the market remains committed to providing a platform for businesses and individuals to raise capital and create wealth.
President, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Mr Olatunde Amolegbe was optimistic about the outlook for the economy, noting that while gaps still exist in economic performance, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel as efforts were geared towards infrastructure development and growth.
He commended the evolution of the capital market over the past six decades, assuring of the support of the stakeholders to sustain development of a virile capital market.
“Incidentally, the Nigerian capital market as represented by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) is also 60 years and we can be proud of the progress we have made. Our market capitalisations have grown geometrically and the use of technology has revolutionised our processes and increase market efficiency. We have also transformed to a multi-asset market place, so there is cause to be grateful,” Amolegbe said.
He said the key to achieving sustained capital market growth and unlocking Nigeria’s vast economic potential is for government and populace alike to invest more in developing the capital market.
Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Capital Assets Limited, Mr. Ariyo Olushekun, bemoaned the decline of the Nigeria over the past four decades, noting that while the country made commendable progress during the first two decades of independence, key parameters have shown various levels of deterioration over the past four decades.
Citing the excellent state of infrastructure and public service in the past, he recalled that the economy had so much opportunity even for students then, and several national institutions were global centre of excellence.
“We need to sit down, reflect and see where things had gone wrong. We used to take security for granted, you can’t do that anymore, and security is key, if you take that out, then everything becomes desolate,” Olushekun, a former president of CIS and council member of NSE, said.
He urged the government to take advantage of the depth and sophistication of the Nigerian capital market as a cornerstone for national economic rejuvenation.
He pointed out that while the N30 million bond raised by Oyo State Government in 1987 to build the Adamasingba Stadium and Gbagi Market was reputed then as the largest issuance, the market has grown in leaps and bounds with capacity for hundreds of billions of Naira in a single capital raising.
He commended the technological advancement of the capital market, noting that last week’s approval of central counterparty clearing houses (CCP) by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was another milestone for the market in its quest to deepen commodities and derivatives trading.
Chairman, Association of Securities Dealing Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), Chief Onyenwechukwu Ezeagu, said Nigeria at 60 conjures a mixed bag of feeling, a feeling of missed opportunities and a handful of successes on all fronts and sectors.
“My take is that we should shrug off the disappointments and resolve even the more to leapfrog from those setbacks and with determination strive to cover lost grounds, thereby catapult the nation to the enviable position she ought to occupy in the committee of progressive nations within a very short time, Yes we can,” Ezeagu said.
Chief Executive and Registrar, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Mr. Adedeji Ajadi pointed out that while Nigeria has made progress in various facets of life, including the capital market, which has grown in leaps and bounds since independence, it has not lived up to its true potential.
“Despite the progress we have made, most of us stakeholders have no doubt that we could have done much more. As it is the case with most aspects of our national life, we are operating far below our potential. The capital market should be much bigger and more sophisticated than this,” Ajadi said.
Executive Vice Chairman, Highcap Securities Limited, Mr. David Adonri, noted that Nigeria’s capital market is still shallow with about seven per cent of GDP as against over 50 per cent in many other countries.
– The Nation