Senate moves to boost capital market

By Ignatius Okorocha

Disturbed by the dwindling operations of the Capital Market in the last few years in Nigeria, the Senate on Wednesday, promised to put legislations in place that would revolutionize the sector.

This was as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said that it was set to introduce financial technology to strengthen the capital market in Nigeria.

Speaking at the an interactive session with stakeholders from the capital market sector, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Capital Market, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, promised that the Senate would make laws to strengthen the sector.

He said that the meeting became very imperative as the country’s economy had been facing serious challenges occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and the recent EndSars protests across the country.

According to him, the Senate is not unaware of some of the challenges facing the growth of the Nigerian Capital Market, assuring that the Committee, which oversights the industry would support with necessary legislations to address the problems and propel the Nigerian Capital Market into greatness.

Amosun further stressed that there was need to strengthen the Commodity Exchanges (CX) and make the market robust and functional.

“As stakeholders in the capital market, I urge you all to see this interactive session as an avenue for us to brainstorm on ways we can collaborate to meaningfully strengthen the capital market so that it can continue to function as the gateway to economic development of our nation.

“This interactive meeting is very apt, especially coming at a time like this when concerted efforts are required to revive our economy, which has been negatively affected due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and the recent EndSars protest.

“This is the most crucial moment for our economy, as Nigeria and indeed the whole world continue to grapple with economic hardships – such that has not been witnessed before.

“Consequently, it behooves on us as stakeholders to come together with a view to reviving the economy and strengthening the confidence of the much needed investors in the capital market.

“The Senate is not unaware of some of the challenges facing the growth of the Nigerian Capital Market. It is our desire as the committee saddled with the Oversight responsibility to support you with necessary legislation to propel the Nigerian Capital Market into greatness. Please be assured that we will expedite action on the passage of relevant laws, amend, and enact new laws where necessary.

“There is equally the need to strengthen our Commodity Exchanges (CX) and make the market robust and functional.

“Furthermore, it is our firm belief that we can work towards domestication of our product to encourage local investors. The Capital Market needs to re-activate our alternate Market, and bring on board unlisted multinational companies, in order to develop a robust Capital Market.

“These informal sectors as we are all aware is a driving force that will dominate our nation’s economy. I encourage all the stakeholders present here to strategise on how to encourage Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and multinational companies to participate in the Nigeria Capital Market.

“Let me remind us that, the money market is already dominating the capital market due to reasons such as; system failure, lack of transparency in operations, insider abuse, etc. To this end, the Investments and Securities Act (IST) will be reviewed. We urge all the stakeholders as a matter of urgency to intimate us all areas that require legislation in order to promote the Capital Market.

“The issue of unclaimed Dividends must be thoroughly dealt with by SEC and CSCS, for investors’ confidence and growth of the Capital Market. Public enlightenment and awareness of operations/dealings within the Nigerian Capital Market must be seriously emphasized, taking into cognizance the need to sensitize the general public on their roles”.

Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Lamido Yuguda, at the event, stated that the Capital Market would soon be strengthened with Finance Technology.

According to him, Fintech relates to any business that uses technology to enhance or automate financial services and processes; thereby fixing problems in financial infrastructure.

He explained that Fintech companies operate by receiving information from customers before helping them make payment, refund a sale, look up details of a transaction, and set up a billing plan among other things.

Yuguda said: “2020 saw the rise of fintech startups in Nigeria. In October, American fintech giant, PayStripe acquired a Nigerian counterpart, Paystack for over $200 million to expand into the African Continent”.

On plans to launch into fintech, the SEC DG said: “we are implementing the Fintech road map. We are also contextualising the regulatory independent framework to on board Fintech into the capital market.

“We have just released draft rules for the crowdfunding in our regulation. We have received set of comments from the market and very soon we will be releasing these rules to the public.”

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