By Etuka Sunday
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed said the strong capital market activities was instrumental in taking Nigeria out of recession and back to the path of positive growth.
Ahmed spoke at the 22nd African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) Annual General Meeting and Conference in Lagos.
Represented by the Acting Director-General, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms Mary Uduk, the Minister told participating African countries that it was President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to pump in money into various sectors of the economy in order to spur economic growth and sustain the tempo to where it is now.
According to her, Nigerian government’s deliberate effort gave support to the private sector a critical pillar in its policies, by ensuring macroeconomic stability and diversifying the economy from a focus on oil to other sectors and providing an enabling environment for the financial sector as a major catalyst in the implementation of the Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
She said: “The African Securities Exchanges Association as a premier association of leading exchanges in Africa has the primary goal to develop Member Exchanges, provide an enabling platform for sharing best practices, and articulate actionable strategies to strengthen and develop Capital Markets on the African Continent.
“We are very pleased that this year, such a high level conference is taking place in Nigeria. It is my strong belief that the private sector presents an effective engine for growth in any economy. For this reason, Nigerian government has made supporting the private sector a critical pillar in its policies, by ensuring macroeconomic stability and diversifying the economy from a focus on oil to other sectors and providing an enabling environment for the financial sector as a major catalyst in the implementation of the Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
“Also in Nigeria, the capital market was instrumental in taking the country out of the recent economic recession and back to the path of positive growth. Specifically, government decided to increase its spending to spur economic growth and this has been made possible through long-term financing provided both by the domestic and international capital markets.
“It is therefore critical that African governments continue their efforts to ensure rapid development of capital markets and support innovations to deepen and accelerate their growth and help direct financial capital to more sustainable economic activity,” she said.
In a statement signed by her Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Mr Paul Ella Abechi, the Minister said, “considering the immense benefits that world class capital markets bring, every economy, especially African economies, needs such markets. Africa needs to develop its capital markets to accelerate inclusive economic growth and to tackle infrastructure challenges. This will complement banking sector finance to provide long term capital for growth and development.
“I encourage ASEA and all stakeholders to continue the work of integrating our markets in Africa as this will no doubt transform African markets to world class markets,” she said.
She noted that efforts to build and develop deep capital markets in Africa are widespread, championed by regulators who belong to the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).
Nine of the 20 members of IOSCO’s Africa Middle East Regional Committee (AMERC) are based in SSA and they employ best practice in their regulatory activities.
IOSCO, being the global body of securities market regulators, has developed a set of high-level global standards in the form of 38 principles 8 of which take into account the lessons learnt from the global financial crisis.
“In addition, world class capital markets broaden access to economic prosperity by enabling the emergence of financially responsible citizens, accelerating wealth creation and wealth distribution, providing capital to small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), and catalyzing housing finance”, she stated.