Infrastructure dev’t: SEC emphasizes the need to attract private, domestic capital

Infrastructure development has been described as critical for the achievement of economic prosperity, sustainable growth and development of Nigeria.

Therefore, the need to attract private and domestic capital to fund and support critical infrastructure is paramount.

This, among others, was the resolution reached at the end of the Securities and Exchange Commission, (SEC) yearly budget seminar.

The seminar which held in Lagos, Thursday, had as its theme ‘Leveraging the 2020 Budget and Finance Act for the Growth of the Nigerian Capital Market’.

Participants also recommended the provision of conducive business environment and credit enhancements for the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to thrive, because the SME sub-sector is one of the critical pillars for economic growth and national prosperity.

According to the Communique at the end of the seminar, “There is need to create more hedging opportunities in the Nigerian capital market, as this has implication for market liquidity and efficiency.

“The government needs to work towards encouraging the participation of the private sector in the Nigerian business environment. The power and agricultural sectors are key sectors where in-depth reform and partnership with the private sector are important. There should be partnership with the private sector to mobilise domestic resources, create quality jobs and lift people out of poverty”.

Participants agreed on the need to leverage technology for trade and focus on adding value to the agricultural sector which is currently very low-paying. This sector, they posited, needs to become more beneficial to those involved and  can be done through means, such as provision of power for crop preservation, thus eliminating post-harvest losses.

In her opening address, Acting Director General of the SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk emphasised the important role budgets play in an economy, and by extension in the capital market.

This importance, Uduk said, is actually the basis on which the seminar was organised to analyse the risks and opportunities presented by the government budget.

She said, over the years, the SEC Budget Seminar Series has served as a forum for evaluating the connection between the Nigerian capital market and the annual federal government budget, with the aim of identifying how the capital market can contribute to, and benefit from, the budget and its implementation.

“In the course of the Seminar, we shall look at the performance of the 2019 budget, the performance of the capital market, the proposed 2020 budget as well as its likely impact on the capital market.

“Also critical are the aspects of the new Finance Act that affect the capital market. These include the provisions on securities lending, real estate investment schemes, minimum tax, increased Value Added Tax, amongst others.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2020 budget to the National Assembly on October 8, 2019, which was eventually signed at a record time on December 17, 2019, with an approved budget of N10.6trn.

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