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NASS sets agenda for revival of Capital Market

The National Assembly on Monday vowed to give expeditious passage to legislation aimed towards reviving the Capital Market as part of moves towards boosting the dwindling national economy

Both the Senate President Bukola Saraki and the House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara however, called on stakeholders to come up with draft bills that would provide adequate legislative instruments to fast-track the necessary change and reforms expected in all critical sectors of the country.

Saraki and Dogara, made the declaration on behalf of the federal lawmakers  at the ongoing two-day capital market stakeholders forum organized by the  National Assembly Joint Committee on Capital Market and Institutions.

Saraki disclosed that economic reform bills that will make Nigeria investors’ friendly are already at critical stages at the upper legislative chamber.

Such Bills, he said include, Independent Warehouse Regulatory Agency Bill, Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Bill, Franchising Bill, Companies and Allied Matters Act (Amendment) Bill, Nigerian Ports and Harbours Authority Bill and Nigerian Railway Authority Bill.

“I hope that when you leave here at the end of the two days, what I will like to see is a working document with a clear timetable, listing the draft bills that you want us to pass.

“The 8th National Assembly understands the issue that Nigeria is going through. And I can assure you to give us those bills, we will turn them around and pass them as soon as possible,” he stated.

The Nigerian stock market lost more than N1.63 trillion in January this year due to profit-taking and currency volatility.

The drop represented 16.50 percent to close at N8.225 trillion from the N9.850 trillion in December.

Dogara in his remarks said the House of Representatives was is in the process of tightening regulations in the stock market to ensure that the investments are protected from fraudulent operators.

He  said this has become imperative in view of the fact that the nation is in dire need of investors to bring in their resources to diversity its sources of income.

His words: “We strongly believe that the Capital Market is a major tool for wealth creation and mobilisation of funds to grow and diversify the Nigerian economy.

We want to emphasise that any proposed legislation must find a way to protect ordinary Nigerians, some of whom have invested their life savings in the market from fraudulent market players.

“Many Nigerians have tales of woes from the irresponsible activities of these unscrupulous stakeholders in the market. The recent regulatory sanctions to some stock brokers and market players is, therefore, a step in the right direction.”

The Speaker added  that the capital market offers the best opportunity to diversify the economy by bringing fresh vistas and windows for investment, while expressing confidence that the capital market can fill this gap by taking the lead in yielding opportunities that will help in revamping Nigeria’s economy.

He expressed the willingness of the House of Representatives to contribute “our quota, to arrest this dangerous drift. Considering Nigeria’s population, human and material resources, our Capital Market could do much better in terms of depth, breadth, size, liquidity and access to investment opportunities.”

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who also attended the Public Hearing, said Nigeria’s capital market requires a stable macro-economic environment, strong legal and regulatory framework to protect property rights, good corporate governance as well as strong financial infrastructure.

Represented by the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Economic Matters, Adeyemi Dipeolu, the Vice President said the capital market has a key role to play in helping to finance domestic borrowing plans.

The Federal Government will borrow N984billion from domestic markets to finance the N1.84trillion deficit 2016 budget of N6.06trillion.

“We need the capital market for the mobilisation of finance. And to mobilise that finance, there is the need for enforcement of rules and regulations which are the bedrock of capital investment”, he said.

He harped on the need for the review of existing laws such as the Investment and Securities Act, 1999. This, he stressed, will give full impetus to the potentials of the capital market.

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