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Economy

ISB Confers SEC New Investigative, Enforcement Powers—Lawmaker

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babangida ibrahim Investments and Securities Bill

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markets and Institutions, Mr Babangida Ibrahim, has disclosed that the Investments and Securities Bill (ISB) recently passed by the upper chamber of the National Assembly has conferred the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) new powers to investigate capital market infractions and apply sanctions to culprits.

Speaking in an interview in Abuja recently, the lawmaker said this is one of the advantages of the new piece of legislature, which is awaiting passage in the Senate.

According to him, the bill has provisions that will inspire the confidence of both local and foreign investors as they can be assured that the regulators have been sufficiently empowered to deal with malpractices that undermine confidence in the market.

Mr Ibrahim stated that foreign investors and market participants would also be attracted to the Nigerian market because they will have comfort in the fact that the Bill seeks to mirror standard investor-protective provisions and practices in advanced jurisdictions, which the foreign participants are already familiar with.

On the reason for the new bill, the lawmaker stated that the current enabling law for the Nigerian capital market, the Investments and Securities Act, No. 29 of 2007 (ISA), was signed into law by late President Umar Musa Yar’adua in June 2007 (15 and half years ago) before the global financial crisis of 2008/2009.

Global financial regulators, he said, have made major changes in their regulatory instruments following the crisis to address some of the obvious gaps that contributed to the global economic disruption of the time, adding that such global shifts and other current trends in capital markets regulation have made it imperative to make major improvements to the Act to align our market with international standards.

According to him, the bill seeks to repeal the ISA and introduce new provisions that empower the SEC to collaborate with other regulatory bodies in the financial sector to manage and mitigate systemic risks as it confers new investigative and enforcement powers on the apex regulator, SEC, to effectively regulate the Nigerian capital market. It introduces the framework for the regulation of new products, including financial and commodities derivatives and financial market infrastructures, which are expected to lead to increased activities, and, thus, deepen the Nigerian capital market.

“The bill introduces stiffer sanctions in the form of increased fines and jail terms, which are commensurate with the severity of offences, and also serve as deterrence to potential future offenders.

“For instance, a jail term of not less than 10 years has been provided to address the menace of Ponzi schemes and illegal investment schemes that have caused heartache for thousands of Nigerians who have been victims of such scams. Other offences, such as market manipulation, insider trading, false statements in prospectuses etc. are also subject to severe punishment.

“The bill will ensure the diversification of the Nigerian economy away from a mono-product oil economy through the strengthening of the Nigerian commodities ecosystem with the trading of warehouse receipts and commodities contracts on the commodities exchanges.

“The bill also contains a legal framework for registration and regulation of new types of critical market infrastructures such as central counterparties, which will be responsible for managing the risks emanating from transactions in derivatives and other financial instruments, thereby ensuring the safety and integrity of our markets and boosting investors’ confidence,” he stated.

The lawmaker disclosed that federal government agencies, subnational, and supranational will be able to better access the capital market for both revenue bonds and project-tied bonds as the bill now contains adequate provisions that enable both corporates and governments to issue new instruments to develop the infrastructural requirements of the country.

According to him, “The bill will generally revitalize the Nigerian capital market, as it introduces regulation of new businesses, products and services that will deepen the market while equipping the apex regulator with appropriate powers to protect the market and enforce the provisions of the bill.

“In every sense of the word, this bill is truly a market-inspired bill. Inputs were received from all segments of the Nigerian capital market – the securities exchanges, commodities exchanges, the central counterparties, capital market operators and trade associations, chartered institute of stockbrokers, capital market professionals such as the legal practitioners as well as shareholders associations.”

Economy

MTN, NGX Partnership Has Attracted Younger Investors to Capital Market—Popoola

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attracted younger investors NGX

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The chief executive of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, Mr Temi Popoola, has described the deal signed between the bourse and MTN Nigeria in 2022 as a game-changer, saying it has successfully attracted younger investors to the capital market.

Recall that in February 2022, both parties sealed a partnership aimed at using technology to offer financial securities to retail investors who had stayed away from the capital market.

The two-year deal was sealed to promote financial literacy further and enhance retail participation in the Nigerian capital market. It was made to develop capital market solutions collaboratively, leverage technology to support data dissemination and technology-as-a-service, promote capacity development and eliminate barriers to retail participation in the capital market.

Yesterday, to mark the first anniversary of the collaboration, the chief executive of MTN Group, the parent firm of MTN Nigeria, Mr Ralph Mupita, was hosted to a closing gong ceremony.

At the event, he said within a year of signing the MOU, a lot has been achieved due to the hard work invested on both sides in forging and sustaining a productive partnership:

“At MTN, we believe we have a responsibility to ensure that our customers not only stay connected but can access increasing value and better services through our network, deepening their participation in the digital economy.

“Our collaboration with NGX gave us the opportunity to empower our customer base with the tools and knowledge to engage effectively with the capital market and meet their financial and investment objectives.

“For this, NGX deserves to be commended for democratising access to financial securities and thereby empowering more Nigerians,” he stated.

Also, the chief executive of MTN Nigeria, Mr Karl Toriola, said, “We will continue to identify other areas of cooperation with NGX, and we look forward to a continued mutually beneficial partnership that will contribute to the inclusive growth of the Nigerian economy.”

On his part, Mr Popoola commended MTN for its unwavering efforts in advancing Nigeria’s technology landscape through substantial investments in infrastructure and digital transformation.

“We are proud to acknowledge the advancements made through the successful public offering in 2021 and the MoU signed last year. These initiatives have successfully attracted a notable portion of the younger generation to the capital market, aligning with our goal to increase retail participation.

“I would also like to specially acknowledge the efforts of the financial advisers on the landmark offering led by Chapel Hill Denham.

“We are optimistic about the prospects of a mutually beneficial partnership with MTN that will reinforce the Nigerian economy and foster sustainable growth for the African continent,” he stated.

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Economy

Naira Flat at Official Market as CBN Succumbs to Reps

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Godwin Emefiele Naira

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira recorded no movement against the American Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the foreign exchange (FX) market on Tuesday, remaining at N461.50/$1.

This came as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, bowed to pressure from the House of Representatives to waive the deadline for the return of old currency notes to banks for the new ones.

The apex bank had said old N200, N500, and N1,000 currency notes not returned to the bank on or before February 10, 2023, would lose their values, but the lawmakers argued otherwise, citing a part of the CBN Act, which says though such banknotes can lose their legal tender status, holders could still return them to the banks for a swap.

Yesterday, after dodging the lawmakers for a while, Mr Emefiele appeared before them and said Nigerians could still return their old notes after the deadline. This excited the lawmakers.

This development eased the tension in the system and brought stability to the local currency, coupled with a pullback in demand for forex in the official market.

During the session, FX trades valued at $85.04 million were recorded, 36.4 per cent or $65.45 million lower than the $150.49 million recorded in the previous session.

It was a similar situation at the Peer-2-Peer (P2P) forex window as the Naira showed no movement against the United States Dollar, trading at N759/$1.

But in the parallel market, the Nigerian currency appreciated against the American Dollar by N2 to settle at N750/$1 compared with Monday’s value of N752/$1.

Sadly, in the interbank window, the domestic currency fell against the Pound Sterling by 88 Kobo to trade at N570.93/£1 versus the preceding day’s N570.05/£1 and against the Euro, it lost N1.09 to settle at N502.51/€1, in contrast to the previous day’s N501.42/€1.

At the cryptocurrency market, there was a major green swing as investors await the Federal Reserve’s Wednesday decision on a potential interest rate increase.

Cardano (ADA) appreciated by 4.4 per cent to trade at $0.3871, Ripple (XRP) gained 3.7 per cent to sell at $0.4056, Litecoin (LTC) rose by 2.5 per cent to $97.14, Bitcoin (BTC) improved by 1.2 per cent to $23,158.47, Dogecoin (DOGE) jumped by 0.9 per cent to $0.0925, and Ethereum (ETH) expanded by 0.8 per cent to $1,584.00.

However, Binance Coin (BNB) pointed downwards by 0.8 per cent to sell at $310.03, Solana (SOL) slumped by 0.6 per cent to $23.94, while Binance USD (BUSD) and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) remained unchanged at $1.00 apiece.

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Economy

Stock Exchange Rises 0.15% as Market Cap Nears N29trn

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Local Stock Exchange

By Dipo Olowookere

Sustained bargain-hunting activity stretched the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited further by 0.15 per cent on Tuesday, following strong corporate earnings.

The 2022 fourth-quarter results of companies on the stock exchange gave investors an overview of what the full-year earnings would look like, resulting in buying stocks expected to pay good cash rewards in the coming months.

From an analysis of the market data, the insurance counter appreciated by 2.98 per cent, the industrial goods sector rose by 0.03 per cent, while the consumer goods and banking indices closed lower by 0.17 per cent and 0.03 per cent, respectively, with the energy space closing flat.

At the close of business, the All-Share Index (ASI) grew by 80.84 points to 53,238.67 points from 53,157.83 points, while the market capitalisation nudged closer to N29 trillion with a N44 billion increase to N28.998 trillion from N28.954 trillion.

The activity chart revealed that traders transacted 250.2 million shares worth N5.9 billion yesterday in 4,328 deals as against the 201.4 million shares worth N5.7 billion traded in 4,332 deals on Monday, indicating a decline in the number of deals by 0.09 per cent and an improvement in the trading volume and value by 24.23 per cent and 3.51 per cent, respectively.

Universal Insurance was the busiest stock on Tuesday as it transacted 48.6 million units, with GTCO trading 14.2 million units at the close of transactions. Zenith Bank sold 12.5 million shares, Access Holdings exchanged 11.6 million stocks, and Unity Bank traded 10.9 million equities.

The trio of Veritas Kapital, Living Trust Insurance and Geregu Power gained 10.00 per cent each during the session to settle at 22 Kobo, N1.98, and N193.60 apiece, as John Holt rose by 9.92 per cent to N1.33, while SCOA Nigeria increased by 9.78 per cent to N1.01.

On the flip side, the duo of Chams and NCR Nigeria lost 10.00 per cent each to close at 27 Kobo and N3.24, respectively. Unity Bank shed 9.09 per cent to sell at 50 Kobo, Royal Exchange depreciated by 8.97 per cent to 71 Kobo, and Japaul dropped 8.33 per cent to quote at 33 Kobo.

Analysis of the price movement chart indicated that the market breadth ended positive, with 29 price gainers and 18 price losers, representing a very strong investor sentiment.

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