13 March 2015, Lagos – The federal government has said it will come up with guidelines that will encourage major companies in the oil and gas, telecommunications and power sectors of the Nigerian economy to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
Making this known on Thursday, President Goodluck Jonathan, who was at the stock exchange to meet with capital market operators and ring the closing bell of the market, said the government would come up with guidelines and incentives that would encourage the companies to list on the exchange, adding that the listing of the companies would not only enable Nigerians benefit from partly owning them, but also engender transparency and good governance in the companies.
“Something is wrong somewhere. I believe very clearly that the government and you (capital market operators and regulators) need to work together to look at these areas.
“There are leakages, for example, some of the companies that are operating in this country are not really disclosing what they are supposed to disclose. Companies that are supposed to be listed on the stock market are not listed, so their operations are not as transparent as they should be,” he said.
According to the president, as the biggest economy in Africa, the nation’s capital market ought to equally be the largest, adding that the only way to achieve this is to ensure that big companies operating in the economy and are reaping profits from the country, should make their shares available for Nigerians to invest.
“To give a scenario, America has the biggest GDP in the world and its capital market is also the biggest. South Africa when they were number one on the continent, their capital market was also number one.
“So why is it that today our GDP is number one and our capital market is second or third? We must therefore change that scenario,” he said.
According to him, the government attaches great importance to the capital market as it reflects the performance of the nation’s economy, promising that the government would do everything possible to make the market attractive to investors and issuers.
He said he had in the past held discussions with MTN during one of his visits to South Africa on the need to list their shares in Nigeria.
“When I met with MTN in South Africa, we discussed the need for them to list in Nigeria. We are working hard to make sure that companies that are supposed to list do so. That is the only way the Nigerian capital market and economy can grow so that Nigerians can participate.
“Definitely if you take the power companies, as they grow bigger they will list,” he said.
The president added that after a proper study of the situation, the government would come up with the guidelines for the listing, disclosing that listing of companies would be made attractive by the incentives to be offered the companies.
“We will certainly come up with guidelines in that regard. It is only proper to study something and meet with technical experts before coming out with the final pronouncement on it.
“But we will definitely encourage most of these companies to list and make it a condition for them to benefit from government in some areas,” he said.
Jonathan assured stockbrokers and executives of listed companies that the government would continue to partner the private sector and hands off the management of businesses in order to solely provide the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
“We will continue to partner the private sector. We are moving away from where government used to be the best manager of companies to where the government will create the enabling environment for the private sector to manage the economy,” he said.
There has been a clamour by the management of the NSE for the listing of oil and gas, telecoms and power companies operating in the country on the stock exchange.
– This Day