By Dipo Olowookere
Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr Oscar Onyema, has announced that activities at the stock market will continue as usual despite the lockdown in Lagos and Abuja.
In a statement on Monday, Mr Onyema the smooth running of the market will not be affected by the cessation of movement declared by the federal government in these key cities of the country.
“We will sustain our remote trading activities at normal hours and days, in line with the guidance provided by the World Federation of Exchanges,” Mr Onyema said.
The decision to keep activities running without any disruption followed the presidential approval to include the Financial System and Money Markets in the list of exempted services from the lockdown of Lagos and Ogun States and the FCT is vital.
This authorisation was obtained by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed; and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele.
According to the NSE chief, “The ability of our financial and money markets to continue to operate during this crisis is a testament to a well-functioning economy.”
He said the exchange has activated the second phase of its business continuity plan that will see essential staff move into a secured accommodation close to its offices with adequate arrangements for healthcare and other matters necessary to their wellbeing.
“Access to our offices will be restricted to these essential staff who will ensure smooth remote trading and provide remote technical support to dealing members. We will also continue to provide remote access to listed companies and issuers during this period,” Mr Onyema said.
He assured all “stakeholders that the exchange is open for business remotely. Should you need to engage with us on any matter, please reach out to us via e-mail, X-Issuer, X-Boss, X-Whistle, telephone, our website or any of our other digital and social platforms.”
He also encouraged “everyone to maintain precautions, take responsibility for others by observing social distancing and practicing personal hygiene.”
“Most importantly, we advise that you comply with guidelines issued by relevant health agencies of government towards curtailing the spread of the virus in our beloved country,” he said.
Since the index case was reported on February 27, 2020, Nigeria, as at Monday, March 30, 2020, has recorded 111 positive cases of COVID-19, with Lagos State accounting for over 60 percent of the cases.
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