Coronavirus: Senate pledges to protect investments in capital market

Kehinde Akinseinde-Jayeoba - Lagos

The Senate Committee on Capital Market has said it would ensure investments in the nation’s capital market are protected despite the negative impact the widespread reports of the coronavirus has on the local bourse.

Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Chairman of the Committee, gave the assurance, on Thursday, during a courtesy visit of the committee to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in Lagos.

Senator Amosun, who noted that the capital market has a role to play in rescuing the economy at this critical stage in the light of the coronavirus pandemic which has hit global markets, said, “the capital market is a potent avenue of deepening our economy. We have always talked about diversification which is essential to growing the economy and that is why the capital market has to play a very significant role in that aspect.

“Let me reassure that we will create that enabling environment for investors as well as eke out necessary policies to support the market and so we are urging investors not to press the panic button yet,” he said, adding that constant engagement is needed to help drive the development of the economy as well as the capital market.

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Senator Amosun, however, urged the NSE management to look into other sectors that would allow for more participation in the market, noting that wealth needs to be created and there is the need to get more people into the net.

Amosun thereafter tasked regulators not to rest on their oars while adding that partnership is important to move the nation forward.

“Yes, we want to the number one in Africa and I know you have the capacity to do it but it is high time we benchmarked ourselves with other established exchanges. We are going to revisit the PIB bill soon even as we just passed the CAMA bill in the senate and I am sure that the House of Assembly will do the same soon.”

While welcoming the committee to the Exchange, Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Oscar Onyema, said that the market had declined in the face of the virus outbreak in the country, while noting that the total market capitalisation which includes equities, fixed income and exchange traded funds (ETFs), currently stands at N25 trillion.

“We are at about N25 trillion in total market capitalisation which includes equities, fixed income and exchange traded funds (ETFs) but at the equities side, we are at about N11 trillion. Just two or three weeks ago, we were close to N15 trillion but for the global rout and crashed oil prices, we have now lost about N3.2 trillion since the 9th of March”.

Nigeria Tribune

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