By Adedapo Adesanya
The need to elevate the Nigerian financial markets ecosystem to drive increased domestic and foreign investments which would serve as a catalyst for economic growth through financial inclusion was the premise around the 3rd Annual Tiameetup Conference held on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 in Lagos.
The event, organized by Trendonomics, was themed Financial Inclusion: Increasing Market Depth and Breadth and was held at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
It saw leading industry experts, traders, investors, and analysts cover issues around the Nigerian economy to identify necessary opportunities and gain in-depth insights into how there can be expansion to meet the country’s financial inclusion target for 2020.
The event had presentations on corporate governance, Islamic financing for development, Agriculture and economic empowerment, Growth investment for stimulating market development, and the practical application of market data.
Director General of the Securities Exchange Committee (SEC), Ms Mary Uduk, who was represented at the event by Mr Afolabi Olowookere, the Divisional Head, Economic, Research and Policy Management Economic Analysis Division at SEC, noted that the commission was working with the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to include capital market studies into Nigeria’s education curriculum from primary school all the way to the tertiary level.
He said that the knowledge of having this in the educational system would help deepen financial inclusion in the country.
He added that the commission was working on consolidation to curb multiple subscription so that people can claim their shares, which will boost trading and increase the inclusion rate of people coming into the market.
Speaking on corporate governance, Mr Sola Ephraim-Oluwanuga, the Independent director of the NPF Pensions Limited, noted that the lack of a credible corporate governance was a detriment to ensuring financial inclusion.
“Corporate governance is important because its procedures is good in management of firms by helping managers and boards to develop sound company strategy.
“If we have good corporate governance in place, those who have been excluded should be reached,” he said.
Speaking further, he said that the introduction of Payment Settlement Banks (PSBs) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) could be leveraged upon because it will fast track the goal of financial inclusion to the set target by the end of next year.
During his presentation on the Islamic financing for development, Dr Aliyu Muhammad, the Deputy Director Training and Linkage at the International Institute of Islamic Banking said that Islamic finance has a lot of potential for curbing market uncertainties due to its conservative principles as it allows for no interests.
Tackling the issue of agriculture and its role in development and economic empowerment, Mr Ayodeji Balogun, the Regional Manager of AFEX Commodities Exchange represented by Mr Akin Yinka, noted that financial inclusion should not be left to commercial banks and the central bank.
He called for good initiatives to farmers which will enable them increase output and productivity which can bring further investment opportunities and in return bring about financial inclusion.
He hinted that over the next two months, certain products will be released into the capital market to enable youths to invest in agriculture.
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