By Dipo Olowookere
The nation’s stock exchange, the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group Plc, has been applauded by President Muhammadu Buhari for providing a platform that stimulates economic growth.
The President gave this commendation on Tuesday when he was hosted virtually by the NGX at the unveiling of its campaign called The Stock Africa Is Made Of.
Business Post reports that the event featured several key speeches and goodwill messages from industry veterans across the public and private sectors including the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed; the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo; the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda; the Chairman of Dangote Group, Mr Aliko Dangote; and the Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr Jim Ovia.
Others were the President of Toronto Raptors, Mr Masai Ujiri; the Chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr Tony Elumelu; the CEO of the London Stock Exchange, Mr David Swchimmer; the CEO of Luxembourg Stock Exchange, Ms Julie Becker; the Chairman of Global Reporting Initiative, Mr Eric Hespenheide; and the Deputy British High Commission Lagos, Mr Ben Llewellyn-Jones.
In his speech, President Buhari, prior to sounding the closing gong and bringing the day’s trading to a close, stated that, “It is my pleasure to join you all at this important event organised to amplify the positive narrative about Africa and its great potentials.
“Let me start by congratulating Nigerian Exchange Group Plc on its recently concluded demutualisation, which is the first in the country.
“I recall signing the Demutualisation Bill in August 2018, paving the way for the long-awaited demutualisation of the then Nigerian Stock Exchange.”
“It is also important for me to highlight that the history of NGX Group is tied to that of the nation itself founded 61 years ago at a pivotal time when Nigeria gained her independence.
“The exchange continues to play its part in nation building by stimulating economic growth and providing a platform for businesses and individual to save and raise capital through innovation, diversified products and services, enabling regulatory environment and much more.
“The occasion of the demutualisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange is yet a proud moment for all of us, and indeed all Nigerians deserve congratulations for this feat as it is the beginning of a new era for the capital market,” Mr Buhari added.
In his remarks, the Chairman of NGX Group Plc, Mr Abimbola Ogunbanjo, said, “The exchange has come a long way, through different leadership regimes – civilian and military – that have overseen multiple booms and bust economic dispensations within the Nigerian economy, to emerge as a leading integrated market infrastructure in Africa and the engine of growth for Africa’s largest economy.
“Our story is one birthed from resilience, collaboration, determination and continued focus on our vision; a true Africa story. With demutualisation, NGX Group is well-positioned to enable strong economic growth and contribute its quota to the development of the Nigerian capital market and the African continent.”
On his part, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, NGX Group Plc, Mr Oscar Onyema, noted that, “At Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, we have the vision to be the premier exchange hub for Nigerian businesses and for the wider African economy building on the strong reputation and corporate governance the NSE has established over the years.
“As we march bravely into the NGX era, we look forward to impacting creating partnerships that will unlock value for our stakeholders, whilst improving the state of the Nigerian economy. It is a period to reinforce on the global stage, our great African pedigree and the Stock Africa Is Made of.”
The unveiling event culminated in a closing gong ceremony where the CEO of the NGX Limited, Mr Temi Popoola, stated, “I am delighted to have hosted President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Today’s epochal closing gong ceremony could not have been possible without Mr President’s support. The NGX era is indeed very exciting for us and we will continue to champion the growth of the African capital market through trade and investments that will facilitate Africa’s economic recovery and reposition the continent for sustainable economic development.
“Partnerships are a critical element of our strategy and we will continue to engage our stakeholders whose support is essential to the achievement of our aspirations in this NGX era.”
In her closing remarks, the CEO of NGX Regulation Limited, Ms Tinuade Awe, stated, “My deepest gratitude goes to President Buhari for gracing us with his presence and honouring our invitation to close the market on the official launch day of the NGX era. This has truly been an inspiring event and we have our amazing line-up of speakers to thank for that.
“I must also thank our regulators, the entire capital market ecosystem and the management and staff of NGX Group for the hard work and diligence that has set us firmly on the path of success.
“It has been an exciting journey to date, and I am confident that we will all work well together to achieve even greater heights in the NGX era.”
FG Pledges Single-Digit Loans for Small Businesses
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has pledged to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with single-digit loans so as to boost their businesses.
This was disclosed by the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs Maryam Katagum, on Friday when members of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) visited her in Abuja.
According to her, there is a lot of commendation at the recent retreat President Muhammadu Buhari had with the ministers for the MSMEs.
“In his closing speech, Mr President specifically said that every support will be given to ensure that MSMEs have access to credits.
“That is what we always preach and we will give every support to the MSMEs as the engine of economic growth to have access to credits at single digits,” Mrs Katagum said.
The Minister, who pointed out the critical role MSMEs play in growing the economy, said this role was further heightened during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Even the woman selling groundnut or `akara’ couldn’t come out to practice her passion. Everybody felt the effect of the lockdown.
“We have to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari for interventions that were provided for MSMEs during the lockdown.
“And once it was identified to put in some mechanism to stop the economy from going under, our ministry is one of the ministries asked to make submissions to see how to keep the economy going and ensure free flow of goods and services across the country.
“Our proposal was very easily accepted and the sum of N75 billion was allocated and we made a lot of progress.
“Average Nigerians appreciated the efforts and we have seen them giving their testimonies and right now we are on the last track which is the guaranteed off-take scheme,” the Minister said.
She appealed to the association to identify innovative ways that the Federal Government can assist MSMEs.
“As partners, your association has to start thinking of new innovative ways that we can assist MSMEs, it’s not just the finance.
“So, when you give them the money, they don’t know what to do with the money so you need to intensify the capacity building and sharing of information to know what is happening and where,” she said.
On his part, the President and Chairman of the governing council of NASME, Mr Abdulrashid Yerima, expressed the association’s commitment to deepening the relationship with the ministry.
Mr Yerima appreciated the ministry for including NASME in various committees set up by the government to support the development of MSMEs in Nigeria.
He, however, sought the appointment of members of the association to the boards of parastatals under the ministry and solicited the ministry’s support for inputs into human capital development for the association.
“Our association serving in the board of revenant agencies under the ministry will help us to make informed inputs into the policies of the agencies that impact MSME growth and development in Nigeria.
“Also support for capital development for our association is crucial for the development of skills and manpower to upscale MSMEs especially NASME,” Mr Yerima said.
IGR: Osinbajo Expresses Worry Over Governors’ ‘Laziness’
By Adedapo Adesanya
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo seems to be worried about the inability of state governors to be innovative in boosting their respective Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
The number 2 man, speaking at the maiden edition of Ekiti State’s investment forum in Ado-Ekiti, has, therefore, tasked them to think out of the box and act like a sovereign state so as to make them challenge countries of the world.
“Thinking differently, there is a need for a sub-national to think like a sovereign state. You have a bigger GDP (gross domestic product) and even more revenues than many nations.
“There is a different mindset when you are sure of a monthly allocation of cash at least enough to pay salaries, whether you generate income or not. This is the challenge. The so-called Dutch disease, one becomes complacent,” he said.
“But what if you had to take responsibility for all those who reside within your borders, pay all salaries, from internally generated revenue?” he queried.
Drawing a parallel, he said that Lagos State improved its IGR from N600 million monthly in 1999/2000 to about N45 billion today, adding that the illegal seizure of the allocations to the state by the then federal government was the shock that forced the state to rethink.
Speaking further, Mr Osinbajo noted that although a state within a federation is not a nation, it must behave like one, to further boost its economic development.
“The economy of the sub-national is a peculiar animal. The state within the federation is not a nation, but it must behave like one, it derives some resources from the federal pool, and generates some income, the overall sum will provide infrastructure and services to the community.
“The size of the sum and the quantum of opportunity available to provide livelihoods for the populace will depend on how the state enables local and external investors, small and large to put their resources into business and commercial activity business in the State.
“The funded portion of the state’s budget is after all a mere fraction of the sum total of economic activity or income-generating activity, formal or informal within the state. So, the attractiveness of a state to commerce is a radical issue,” Mr Osinbajo said.
He asserted that “the very lives and livelihoods of the people within the borders of the State, whether the people will live prosperous and happy lives, be educated, have access to affordable medical care, depends on it.”
He then encouraged them to key into the benefit from a private-sector led economy, noting that the model is the right way to go, as the business is the standpoint of the private sector, while governments should as much as possible facilitate, or at best, collaborate.
NGX Group Finally Lists 1.964 billion Shares, Trades at N17.75
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
A total of 1,964,115,918 shares, representing the issued share capital of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group Plc, were successfully listed on the trading platform of NGX Limited on Friday, October 15, 2021.
Business Post reports that the stocks were listed on the exchange today by introduction at a unit price of N17.75, higher than the N14.68 per unit it last traded on the NASD Securities Exchange on Friday, October 8, 2021, it the shares used to be traded.
This newspaper gathered that at the exchange today, investors traded about 3.6 million units of the company’s equities worth N63.2 million in 31 deals and closed flat at N17.75.
It was listed on the main board of the NGX having satisfied the listing requirements of the exchange and obtained relevant regulatory approvals.
The company is on the bourse in the financial services and capital market infrastructure sector, with the ticker NGXGROUP.
The top members of staff of the company were honoured today with the closing gong ceremony and the Chairman, Mr Abimbola Ogunbanjo, in his speech, stated that, “Today’s listing of NGX Group on NGX is another milestone attained pursuant to the group’s 2018 – 2021 corporate strategy.
“Our shareholder base has more than doubled since our demutualisation in March 2021 and our valued shareholders will benefit from the enhanced liquidity that listing on the exchange will facilitate.
“This listing will also enable a much wider universe of potential investors and market participants to share in our growth journey.
“As a board, we embrace the letter and spirit of the listing requirements and we are committed to transparent disclosure, proactive stakeholder engagement and exemplary corporate governance.”
Also speaking, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NGX Group, Mr Oscar Onyema, disclosed that, “Today’s listing of NGX Group on the nation’s premier exchange will enable institutional investors globally as well as the Nigerian public to invest in Nigerian Exchange Group Plc.
“With strengthening market dynamics, serving the largest economy in Africa, NGX Group’s listing allows us to expand in key capital market infrastructure verticals and look beyond Nigeria’s borders, as we deliver on our growth plans to become Africa’s leading capital market infrastructure group.”
As for the CEO of NGX, Mr Temi Popoola, he described the listing as a milestone, expressing his excitement about the development.
“We congratulate the board and management first on a successful demutualisation and on its subsequent listing. This move is particularly exciting, as it will position NGX Group to provide liquidity to members while stimulating the capital market ecosystem to grow at the same pace as the economy.
“Today, we reiterate our commitment to being a trusted partner to NGX Group and other listed companies as we continue to build a platform that allows our listed companies, investors and other stakeholders to maximise value in our market,” he said.
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