Central Bank, others okay demutualization of capital market

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

The Ministry of Finance; Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN; Nigeria Stock Exchange, NSE and other financial institutions have endorsed planned by the National Assembly to demutualize the nation’s capital market.

A bill for an Act to facilitate the development of Nigeria’s capital market by enabling the conversion and re-registration of the Nigerian Stock Exchange from a company limited by guarantee to a public company limited by shares and for other related matters , 2017 ( Senate Bill 531) (otherwise called Demutualization Bill), has passed second reading in the Senate.

Speaking in support of the bill during a one-day public hearing organised by the Joint Committees of National Assembly on Capital Market at the weekend in Abuja, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele said the demutualization would bring NSE within the league of 56 out of 64 members of World Federation of Exchanges which have demutualized.

Emefiele, who was represented by Mr. Adedeji Lawal from Legal Department of CBN, said dynamism presented by demutulised exchange would augment Nigeria’s debt profile and Capital raising cacapilities by providing a number of attractive vehicles for foregin and domestic investors.

The CBN governor submitted that the capital market and money market are dependent on each other and therefore noted that efforts aimed at improving the operations of the market would invariably make a positive impact on the money market.

Also, in his presentation ‎Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyeama who enumerated ‎benefits of demutualization of NSE, said the proposed bill would facilitate the development of Nigeria’s capital market by enabling the conversion and re-registration of NSE from a company by limited gurantee to a public company limited by shares.

According to Onyeama, “demutualization of NSE through this bill is the great game changer the country needs”.

He listed the benefits of demutualization as facilitating development of capital market, improved corporate governance, resources for capital investment and increase global brand and visibility of the exchange, among others.

Also, the Ministry of Finance and the Association of Stock Brokers of Nigeria noted that the proposed demutualization would provide access to global capital market.

Declaring the public hearing open, ‎ the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki who was represented by Senate Deputy Whip, Senator Francis Alimikhena said the bill is one of the instruments the 8th National Assembly hopes to use to stimulate Nigeria’s economic growth.

Also, the Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, who spoke through the Minority Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor pledged the commitment and total support of the National Assembly for the bill which he said, would scale up the efficiency of the NSE.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Capital Market,  Senator Foster Ogolar (PDP Bayelsa West), said demutualization held the key to develop and strengthen the capital market in the country.

“The Nigerian Stock Exchange plays a major role in the in Nigeria’s financial market and its conversion and re-registration into a public company by shares is essential to develop and strengthen the Nigerian capital market”, he said.