31 July 2017

Nigeria: Saraki, Dogara, Adeosun, Emefiele, Others Back NSE's Conversion

Abuja — The move to amend the Nigerian Stock Exchange Act of 1960 to enable it convert from a company limited by guarantee to the one limited by shares has received the support of Federal Government and other critical stakeholders.

Those who favoured the move include Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele.

Others are Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC; Registrar, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers; Registrar, Corporate Affairs Commission, Association of Stock-broking Houses of Nigeria; Chairman, Investments and Securities Tribunal and Director General, Nigeria Pension Commission.

The conversion move followed a bill, entitled "An Act to facilitate the development of Nigeria's Capital Market by enabling the conversion and re-registration of the Nigerian Stock Exchange from a company limited by guarantee to a public company limited by shares and for related matters, 2017," which had passed first and second reading in the Senate and House of Representatives respectively.

At a public hearing jointly organised by respective Senate and House of Representatives Committees on the Capital Market, at the National Assembly complex in Abuja last week, the stakeholders said the conversion was timely.

Speaking at the hearing, Finance Minister, Adeosun, who was represented by the Director, Home Affairs in the ministry, Mrs. Olubunmi Shinobola, said the bill, if passed, would provide access to global best practices, create a better regulatory framework/formula for ownership stakes, improve greater independent investor participation in governance of the Exchange and reinforce its economic impact.

In his remarks,Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, represented by Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Francis Alimikhena, said NSE, since its establishment in 1960, had made remarkable contributions to the nation's economy.

Similarly, Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, represented by House Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, said the House was ready to accommodate the outcome of the hearing to better the lot of the citizenry.

Also speaking, Chief Executive Officer of the NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema, said the move was extremely necessary for the benefit of every investor.

Earlier in his opening address, the Acting Chairman, Senate Committee on Capital Market and sponsor of the bill, Senator Forster Ogola, said the Nigerian Stock Exchange was a major player in Nigeria's financial market.

He stressed that its conversion and re-registration into a public company limited by shares was essential to develop and strengthen the capital market to enhance the formation of capital for the expansion of the Nigerian economy.

Ogola, who noted that the move was also in line with the 2015-2025 Capital Market Master Plan, said: "It is anticipated that the demutualization of the Nigerian Exchange will reinforce the continuous growth and development of a dynamic, fair, transparent and efficient capital market and thus significantly contribute to Nigeria's economic development."

In the same vein, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markets and Institutions, Yusuf Tajudeen, said the gathering was a fulfillment of one of the resolutions of a stakeholders forum on Capital Market organized by the National Assembly in June 2016.

He added that the public hearing was a "further demonstration of the commitment of the National Assembly through the Committees on Capital Market to re-position the NSE towards achieving its role not only as a critical institution, but also a major contributor to the economic development of Nigeria."

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