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SEC, Others Working to Improve Nigeria’s Policy Environment to Attract Investors

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Nigeria's policy environment

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said it was working hard with other agencies to improve Nigeria’s policy environment so as to make it more attractive to investors.

According to the Director-General of the agency, Mr Lamido Yuguda, efforts are being made to position the capital market as a viable platform for getting long-term funds for infrastructure development, among others.

He said working with a think-tank group like the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) could fast-track the development of effective policies that will drive economic growth.

“Our collective economic power is bigger than the government and in many countries, you find out that the capital market is actually funding the government.

“When you save, the finance is used to create economic value that actually enhances your standard of living and this is a win-win. You get financial returns and also get utility from the investments and this is actually achievable,” the DG said when a team from NESG visited him in Abuja at the weekend.

The organisation was at the commission’s office to seek collaboration towards the development of the economy, which Mr Yuguda was happy about.

“On the capital market, it is a welcome development that we are talking with the NESG for there is something that really needs to happen in this country.

“When you look at our policy environment, in many areas, it is not conducive for the return of capital to investors and we are working hard to tackle this,” the SEC DG noted.

He stated that the telecommunications companies are successful because no one is getting the services for free as everyone pays.

“We all pay for the services, no one is getting the services for free. But when we move on our roads, we say no we do not want to pay for it. In other countries, people pay for their roads and they are happy doing that because the roads are good.

“We need to have collaboration with a group like NESG. Once we are able to put things right, investors will be willing to put in money and there will be returns,” Mr Yuguda stated.

In his remarks, Chief Executive Officer of NESG, Mr Laoye Jaiyeola, expressed worry that the banking sector is being over-stressed by borrowers, urging the governments and corporates organisations to look towards the capital market for their funding needs.

Mr Jaiyeola stated that transactions can be restructured to raise bonds, bills and all of those things that will fund whatever it is that needs to be funded without going through banks.

“The securities market needs to take the bull by the horn otherwise we are going to be in perpetual debt as a Nation and that will not help us. That is one of the reasons we say let’s re-engage, how can we get an Investments and Securities Act that will ensure that the needed funding for development in Nigeria is given priority and then we can fund Nigeria for a longer-term.

“The short-term funding cannot help us; we need to begin to move to long-term. We are passionate about it and we need to raise these funds for the needed development funding for Nigeria,” he stated.

Responding to the call for a robust ISA, the Executive Commissioner for Legal and Enforcement at SEC, Mr Reginald Karawusa, stated that efforts are being made toward this.

According to him, the law was signed by late President Musa YarÁdua in 2007, which makes it 15 years old now. He said SEC set up an industry-wide committee to rework the law, adding that several market experts were involved in redrafting it with inputs from stakeholders.

“A draft was tabled to the 8th assembly. Unfortunately, the assembly left before passing the Bill. Getting the bill passed will be a major thing for the capital market.

“There are new provisions that will strengthen the SEC to effectively regulate to make us a top-notch regulator to increase the number of products.

“There is also a provision that will enable us to play with National Savings Scheme, which is another major gate changer if the Bill becomes passed. Therefore, any support we can get from the NESG will be appreciated,” he stated.

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Economy

Binance Gets Digital Asset Service Provider Licence in France

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Binance

By Adedapo Adesanya

Binance, the world’s largest crypto and blockchain infrastructure provider, has been granted a Digital Asset Service Provider (DASP) registration to operate in France.

The green light was given by Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), which regulates the French financial markets, with the approval of the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR), the authority responsible for supervising the banking and insurance sectors in France, especially AML Regulations.

The landmark achievement for Binance represents its first DASP registration in the European Union and demonstrates its commitment to being a compliance-first exchange.

The registration allows Binance France SAS to operate as a DASP in France and provides regulatory protection for local users with regard to the implementation of French AML/CFT and customer identification requirements.

This came just after the platform received licenses to be a crypto service provider in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, a key milestone for the world’s largest digital-asset exchange as it set up the stage for a major push in the Middle East.

According to Binance, compliance and regulation are critical to the development and maturation of the crypto and blockchain industry.

Mr Changpeng Zhao (CZ), founder and CEO of Binance, said: “Effective regulation is essential for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency. The French DASP and AML/CFT regulations put in place stringent anti-money laundering and fit and proper requirements to meet the high standards necessary to be regulated in France.”

“We are grateful to the AMF and ACPR who both demonstrated a commitment to innovation that made it possible for Binance to navigate the entire application process. Since day one, Binance has always put its users first, and now the crypto community can have even further confidence in Binance France as a trusted DASP registered in France,” he added.

Mr David Princay, CEO of Binance France added, “The registration of Binance France as a DASP is a key milestone for crypto in Europe. In particular, the new levels of protection for AML will help grow crypto adoption in France and Europe. Greater adoption will help bring better liquidity to the market which will be welcomed by users and the community in particular.”

Following the registration, Binance will significantly expand its operations and intends to recruit more people focused on cryptocurrency and blockchain infrastructure development.

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Economy

We’ll Sustain High Level of Corporate Governance—Seplat

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Seplat

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The immediate past chairman of Seplat Energy Plc, Mr Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloka (ABC) Orjiako, has assured that the company will continue to sustain a high level of corporate governance.

Speaking last Thursday at the closing gong ceremony to honour him and introduce his successor, Mr Basil Omiyi, to the market, the energy expert applauded the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited for insisting on transparent and accountable corporate governance for issuers on its platform.

According to him, this has been critical to the company’s growth, assuring that this trend would be maintained in the interest of the firm’s stakeholders.

“The high level of corporate governance promoted by NGX for its listed companies was a key attribute that motivated Seplat Energy Plc to become part of the market.

“Since our acceptance into the market, Seplat Energy Plc has continued to deliver a corporate governance structure that is accountable and transparent to our investors, employees, government and all other relevant stakeholders.

“We are committed to sustaining these high levels of corporate governance through our collaboration with NGX as we implement market-leading measures towards ensuring Nigeria achieves a sustainable energy sector,” he said.

Corroborating him, Mr Omiyi, said, “NGX has played an instrumental role in Seplat Energy Plc’s growth within the domestic and international markets. Our history with the exchange dates back to 2014 when the shares of Seplat Energy Plc were listed in the market and over the years, Seplat has benefitted immensely from its collaboration with NGX.

“As we celebrate another milestone on the Trading Floor of the Exchange, we look forward to strengthening our partnership with NGX for the fulfilment of our joint goal of leveraging capital to empower sustainable initiatives that positively impact our investors, employees, and the environment.”

The chairman of NGX, Mr A.B. Mahmoud, in his address, congratulated Mr Orjiako for his exemplary leadership and outstanding performance of Seplat Energy for well over a decade, during which the company was listed on both NGX and the London Stock Exchange.

“The notable acquisition of eight oil and gas assets, expansion of the Oben and development of the ANOH gas plants under his leadership positioned the company as the largest indigenous domestic supplier of gas,” Mr Mahmoud, who was represented by a director on the bourse, Mr Kamarudeen Oladosu, he noted.

On his part, the CEO of NGX, Mr Temi Popoola, said, “The exchange is better positioned to lead government advocacy efforts for listed companies, promote technology advancement and digital innovation for the capital market, and increase retail investor participation in the capital market aimed at building a market for the future and addressing the prevailing challenge of financial inclusion.

“We welcome Seplat Energy Plc to a renewed NGX and look forward to deepening our collaboration to develop and push for disruptive, out of the box ideas that could support Nigeria’s energy transition into a net-zero economy.”

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Economy

JUST IN: CBN Raises Benchmark Interest Rate to 13%

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killing interest rate

By Dipo Olowookere

For the first time in two years, the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) has been raised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to 13.0 per cent from 11.5 per cent.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the CBN, who announced this development on Tuesday in Abuja, explained that the decision to increase the benchmark interest rate was taken at the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held yesterday and today.

While addressing financial reporters this afternoon, Mr Emefiele said members of the committee were unanimous with the decision to hike the rates as it was the best thing to do after holding them for about two years.

According to the central bank chief, one of the reasons for raising the rate is to control liquidity ahead of the 2023 general elections as politicians would be expected to flood the system with cash in a bid to woo voters.

However, the other parameters were left unchanged by members at the gathering as the Asymmetric corridor remained around the MPR at +100/-700bps, the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 27.5 per cent and the Liquidity Ratio (LR) at 30.0 per cent.

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