Laolu Akande, Abuja: Let me say how very privileged it is to be here at Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE). I would say it’s a very special privilege. I have never been on the trading floor to see what is going on, but now I can see for myself those who make it happen.
And I would like to commend you for the good work you are doing every day and also to say that all of us – the private sector and government must work hand in hand at this time, this is the time of great challenges. And always, everywhere in the world, the stock exchange very quickly recognizes where there is an economic challenge because you see it, all the indicators show very clearly that there are complications and there are problems.
So, I want us to see ourselves as partners working together to ensure that we are able to take our nation up from where we are at the moment to a great and permanent prosperity.
And I know that all of you here are great patriots in your own way – you could have disappeared and possibly worked in Dow Jones, or somewhere else, or maybe Germany or somewhere and you are ever here and you have not checked out, its a very good thing.
So I really want to thank you and commend you again for the good work you are doing at the NSE. It’s really a special privilege and a great opportunity to be here. Good bless you all.
FG EFFORTS TO BOOST INVESTMENTS:
What we are trying to do is to create an enabling environment for industry and for business, that’s a whole lot of things. We are trying to work on infrastructure and we are also trying to work on tax incentive and all manner of incentives’ regime that will enable businesses to do better. You know what the immediate challenges are; foreign exchange, power in some cases and all of that.
But all of these are issues that we are working on day by day and my interaction today with the council has also helped a great deal in trying to understand some of the more immediate issues that we are trying to confront and I am trying to see how we can deal with them.
Essentially, we recognize that this is a partnership: Private sector and government. Government deals mainly as a regulator and partner in such a way and ensuring that the private sector does business and does it well and efficiently because the private sector owns the economy. So for us, this is an important engagement and this where we are, that is why I’m here.
LISTING OF STATE-OWNED FIRMS AND PRIVATISED ONES
I think the most important thing is that there is engagement already on listing on NSE. As you know several major companies have already indicated that they want to be listed on the stock exchange. And I think that for the privatized companies because they are privatized the decision is not the decision of the government, the decision has to be the decision of the new owners.
So it is not the government that necessarily decides to list privatized companies but we are fully ready to encourage listing in the stock exchange. It is the stock exchange that is the important driver of economic activity and an important driver of investment so for the federal government that is an absolute necessity. I don’t think there is any need to wonder whether the federal government would be interested or would want to enable listing but we certainly want to encourage it. That is the reason why I’m here, to promote interest in the market, the federal government sent me and I’m doing so.
INCENTIVES FOR COMPANIES TO LIST ON THE STOCK EXCHANGE
Well, don’t forget that incentives will come from the exchange. We will encourage on an incentive regime. We want to encourage business generally. Where there are opportunities, for example, when we think it should be entirely on the advice of the NSE council, when the council for example or the market makers believe that there are things that can be done to make life easier in some way or there can be things to be done we are happy to listen to those things.
As you know the President just inaugurated an Ease of Doing Business Council. The whole idea is to look at the entire incentive regime, to look at the infrastructure, look at all of the different areas where we can encourage and enable the business environment. So that is (looking at) the whole lot of economic policy and a whole lot of legislation that can encourage business.