Abuja — Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday assured the international community and investors of the present administration's unwavering commitment towards the implementation of strategies and policies with a view to achieving economic development.
Osinbajo made the pledge while addressing participants at the second edition of Capital Market Stakeholders' Forum organised by the National Assembly joint committee on Capital Market and Institutions in Abuja.
The vice-president who was represented by the Director General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha, outlined the policy initiatives to include: Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP); unprecedented investments in capital projects in the past three years; tax incentives and the ease of doing business.
According to him, these strategies and policies are aimed at attracting "investors into various sectors of the Nigerian economy with the aim of growing and diversifying the economy, creating jobs and improving the quality of life, and underscores the importance of Nigerian capital market in the attainment of these objectives.
"Financial markets are known to be engines of growth because of the strategic role they play in the flow of funds to businesses and governments. There is extensive literature on the fact that there is a strong positive correlation between the level of development of the financial system and economic development, for the simple reason that financial markets act as intermediaries between lenders and borrowers."
Osinbajo added that "while this correlation is certainly the case for the advanced market economies, the same cannot be said for Nigerian capital market in the areas of legislations, regulations, technology and products among others which have attracted local and foreign investors to the market, and I would like to commend the regulators and operators alike for these achievements.
"There is, however, room for innovation, increased depth and efficiency of the capital market, and this represents an opportune time for these to begin to occur in anticipation of increased and more sophisticated demand for capital market products."
The vice-president also charged experts in the sub-sector to come up with various innovations that would provide opportunities for small and medium scale businesses to access required funds for growth.
"While deliberating on big businesses, I hope that creative ways for enabling small and medium businesses to access capital will also be considered as they have a great potential for growth, job creation and effective source of local resources," he said.
Osinbajo urged the private sector to "take advantage of government incentives of improved business environment, given the large and diverse resource base of Nigeria, including its entrepreneurial human resources, adding that the demand for capital will increase perhaps well beyond the current levels."
He also expressed optimism that the forum would come up with workable ideas on how the Nigerian capital market can become a reliable source of large pools of stable funds that can be readily assessed by local and international institutions seeking to do business in Nigeria, which is highly commendable.
Also speaking, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, stated that the National Assembly would give the right platform for all sectors of the economy to thrive.
Saraki who was represented by the Senate Minority Whip, Senator Philip Adudua(FCT), said the legislature would create platform to grow businesses and draw foreign investment into the country.
"National Assembly will also create avenue to sustain meaningful and mutually beneficial investment via bilateral and multilateral investments which is our law making responsibility for the economy," Saraki said.
He therefore called on stakeholders to work with the National Assembly to develop lasting policies that will grow "our economy, diversify our portfolio against shocks and give jobs to our teeming populace."
On his part, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon.Yakubu Dogara, reiterated the commitment of the eighth assembly towards the growth and development of the capital market.
Represented by Deputy House Whip, Hon. Pally Iriase, Dogara added that the National Assembly has so far delivered some of the legislative actions enunciated in the communique issued at the maiden capital market stakeholders' forum held in June, 2016.
He said: "It is instructive to note that the National Assembly has recorded relevant milestones that are expected to drive the operations of Nigeria's capital market."