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Nigeria, Ghana Renew Capital Market Ties for Economic Prosperity

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economic prosperity

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Over the weekend, Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), led by its Director-General, Mr Lamido Yuguda, signed a renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with its counterpart in Ghana.

The agreement was sealed to encourage market integration between both nation’s being the largest markets in the West African sub-region and provide better opportunities for economic prosperity.

Mr Yuguda recalled that both countries had enjoyed a long period of progressive and mutually beneficial brotherhood and partnership with the same applying to both institutions, resulting in the first MoU in 2003.

“It is worthy of note that this brotherhood, had in 2003, paved the way for the signing of the current MoU, which today we have come to renew and put to greater use.

“The enduring relationship between our two jurisdictions is more amplified by the fact that Ghana and Nigeria both have the largest markets in the West African sub-region, and it will only be good foresightedness that we seize the advantage of our size and peculiarities, and explore viable areas of cooperation, even as we continue to work assiduously with other stakeholders to integrate our markets and provide greater opportunities for the economic prosperity of our peoples and our economies.

“In addition to its inherent benefits, this revised MOU will usher in an era of strengthened strategic cooperation and mutual support in the regulation of our markets towards the ultimate objective of enhancing their efficiency, transparency, depth, strength and, indeed, global competitiveness,” he said.

The SEC DG stated that in the spirit of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)and what nations in the region are hoping to achieve on a wider scale with WASRA, the collaboration would be a good pedestal for future and wider collaborations with other neighbours in the sub-region and beyond.

He said that with the revised MoU, both countries had developed a robust and inclusive document that is all-encompassing and reflective of current trends, emphasising that the goal of the West African capital markets integration programme is the creation of an enabling environment for cross-border securities transactions and the integration of all capital markets jurisdictions in the ECOWAS region.

“It will therefore be equally expected that we develop a tool of cooperation that enables our two institutions to effectively police our respective markets and ensure that the standards of regulation set out by IOSCO are sustained and, where possible, improved upon.

“However, without the readiness of all concerned, the lofty aims of the programme may as well continually remain a dream. It says unequivocally, this goal can only be achieved seamlessly when all member states of ECOWAS come on board and actively commit to achieving the noble objectives of the enhanced collaborative structure that these nature of agreements enable,” the DG said.

Mr Yuguda added that both the SEC Ghana and SEC Nigeria, desirous of achieving these ideals, have taken the lead by example by driving this project in the sub-region while hopefully aiming to someday expand its coverage beyond the sub-regional frontiers onto other parts of the continent of Africa.

The SEC DG expressed appreciation to other agencies like the African Development Bank towards the growth and integration of capital markets in the sub-region, adding that capital markets in the region are working with other institutions to ensure the provision of robust infrastructure in superintending over the capital market.

In his remarks, the DG of SEC Ghana, Mr Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh, said both securities commissions are ready to work together and develop the potential of the capital market by examining issues and exploring ways to resolve them to make the capital markets work better.

“This is a good framework that will benefit both countries and the sub-region. If you want to go far, it is better to go along with others, which is why we always discuss cooperation in the capital market. We had an MoU in 2003 which centred on collaboration and leveraging the potential of the capital markets in the sub-region. We are better off when we pull together to attain the potential of our capital markets.

“Some progress has been made in the past, but we are not yet where we want to be; we could do more. Ghana and Nigeria can push forward in ways that will bring about the mutual benefits of leveraging the capital market. We need to have our markets open to each other so that we can achieve more and attain one big capital market,” Mr Tetteh said.

He expressed delight at the collaboration and pledged SEC Ghana’s commitment to continue supporting the initiative.

“The MoU has been revised to accommodate new direction to strengthen bilateral relations and measures towards deepening and growing markets through exchanges. This is significant, and the Ghana SEC will be committed to playing our role to ensure that this MoU results in tangible benefits. We will put it into operation so that our capital market will be deepened and experience growth that will lead to economic development.

“We need to come closer and take deliberate steps to achieve bilateral cooperation. We are very keen on this relationship. There is a strong relationship between us, so we must continue to nurture and grow it and create institutions that will help our people have better living standards. I hope we can achieve a lot by bringing our capital markets together. We need to make our institutions stronger as well as our economic activities.

“We need this collaboration to make accessing our markets as seamless as possible, easy for people to transfer assets, make investments and have confidence that the investments are protected in Ghana as they are in Nigeria and vice versa,” he stated.

Aduragbemi Omiyale is a journalist with Business Post Nigeria, who has passion for news writing. In her leisure time, she loves to read.

Economy

South Korea Pledges Mpox Vaccine Supplies

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Monkeypox mpox

By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh

Sadly, African health authorities for several months have pursued vaccines for curing mpox and its further spread mostly in vain as worldwide outbreaks were reported during this year. But there is some light at the end of the tunnel as some considerable assistance might come from the Republic of South Korea.

The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said some few thousand doses being the first consignment of mpox vaccines as a donation, would arrive shortly and be used for health workers and people living with the disease in the hardest-hit areas in Africa.

The continent this year has recorded 202 deaths from mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, with a fatality rate of 19.3% across 13 countries. African health authorities for months have made feverish efforts in search for curbing the disease’s spread.

According to the Acting CDC director, Ahmed Ogwell, more than 50 new mpox cases in Congo were recorded this month and said Ghana and Nigeria are the other most affected countries. A surge in mpox infections was particularly reported last May outside West and Central Africa.

“Let us get vaccines onto the continent,” CDC Acting Head, Ahmed Ogwell, said in a weekly media briefing pointing to another instance of 1.3 billion people on the continent without access to a vaccine, as in the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The solutions need to be global in nature. If we’re not safe, the rest of the world is not safe,” he warned.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has, however, warned against discrimination. “A failure to act will have grave consequences for global health,” Lawrence Gostin, Director of the WHO Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law, said on Twitter.

Health officials have emphasized that mpox can infect anyone in close contact with a patient or their contaminated clothing or bedsheets. Researchers are still exploring to establish how it spreads but believe it’s mainly through close, skin-to-skin contact and through contact with bedding and clothing that touched an infected person’s rash or body fluids.

It generally causes mild to moderate symptoms, including fever, fatigue and painful skin lesions that resolve within a few weeks.

Reports, however, said that the mpox had been established in parts of Central and West Africa for decades; it was not known to spark large outbreaks beyond the continent or to spread widely among people until May when authorities detected dozens of epidemics in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

In Africa, mpox mainly spreads to people by infected wild animals like rodents in limited outbreaks that typically have not crossed borders. In Europe, North America and elsewhere, the mpox is spreading among people with no links to animals or recent travel to Africa. In the U.S. and Europe, the vast majority of infections occur among men who have sex with men, though health officials have stressed that anyone can contract the virus.

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Economy

Access Holdings Merges Sigma, FGPL for Formidable PFA Business

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Sigma Pensions

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

To create a formidable pension funds administration (PFA) business in Nigeria, Access Holdings Plc has merged its subsidiary, First Guarantee Pension Limited (FGPL), with Sigma Pensions Limited.

The marriage between the two PFAs was made possible after Access Holdings acquired an indirect equity stake in Sigma.

Recall that in October, the company announced that it was buying a stake in Sigma to revolutionise the PFA sector.

On Thursday, a court approved the merger between the firm and FGPL, giving room for the organisations to become one and offer innovative products to customers.

A notice signed by the group company secretary of Access Holdings, Mr Sunday Ekwochi, confirmed the development.

“Sequel to our announcement on October 25, 2022, Access Holdings Plc, trading as Access Corporation, today announces the completion of its acquisition of an indirect equity stake in Sigma and the merger of its subsidiary, FGPL, with Sigma.

“Following the sanction of the scheme of merger between Sigma and FGPL by the Federal High Court on December 1, 2022, FGPL has been dissolved without winding up, leaving Sigma as the surviving entity,” a part of the statement dated Friday, December 2, 2022.

“Following the successful completion of the merger, our plan is to leverage the synergies of these entities, as well as the corporation’s expansive distribution network, strong risk management culture and best-in-class governance standards to create a formidable pension funds administration business,” the group chief executive of Access Holdings, Mr Herbert Wigwe, stated.

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Economy

FrieslandCampina Buoys Unlisted Securities Market by 1.11%

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FrieslandCampina

By Adedapo Adesanya

The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange returned to the positive zone on Friday, December 2, as it appreciated by 1.11 per cent at the close of business.

This was driven by a gain in the stock price of FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc. The company appreciated by N5.29 price to close at N66.63 per share versus the previous day’s price of N61.34 per share.

This outweighed the 1 Kobo loss recorded by UBN Property Plc during the session as the price of the property investment company went down to 91 Kobo per unit from the preceding session’s 92 Kobo.

When the market closed for the day, the total value of the unlisted securities market increased by N10.27 billion to N933.71 billion from N923.44 billion.

In the same vein, the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) stretched by 7.82 basis points to 710.58 basis points from the 702.76 basis points in the previous session.

During the session, there was a surge in the volume of securities by 140,993.7 per cent as investors exchanged 2.2 million units, in contrast to the previous day’s 14,508 units.

Likewise, the value of shares traded at the session ballooned by 1,526.6 per cent to N10.7 million from the N657,534.75 recorded a day earlier, while the number of deals improved by 400 per cent to 20 deals from four deals.

When the market closed for the day, AG Mortgage Bank Plc was the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc occupied second place with 687.8 million units worth N14.3 billion, while Lighthouse Financials Services Plc was in third place with 224.7 million units valued at N112.3 million.

Also, CSCS Plc ended the day as the most traded stock by value (year-to-date) by trading 687.8 million units worth N14.3 billion, VFD Group Plc was in second place with 29.1 billion units valued at N7.7 billion, and FrieslandCampina WAMCO Plc was in third place after selling 16.8 million units worth N1.9 billion.

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