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