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Nigerian bourse woos foreign investors

The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Oscar Onyema, has called on foreign investors to take advantage of the huge opportunities in the Nigerian economy and invest in the stock market.

“My message to foreign investors is that the Nigerian Stock Exchange has been cleaned up to be a gateway to Africa’s capital market. The Nigerian market is too big to be ignored, It is competitive, it is a market that provides level-playing ground for all investors,” Onyema said Thursday at a world press conference to review activities on the exchange in 2012 and outlook for the new year.

He said the transformation of the exchange is anchored on strong pillars, including targeted business development efforts, strong regulatory environment, 21st century technologies strategies, growth-enabling market structure, first-rate investor protection programs, market development and improved operational efficiency.

Onyema noted that the Nigerian capital market was one of the top performing exchanges globally last year.

The NSE All Share Index (ASI) grew to 35.45%, and the average daily turnover for equities was 2.65 billion naira (US$17.05 million), up by 2.71%.

Capitalization of listed equities also grew 37.31% from 6.54 billion naira (US$43.08 billion) to 8.98 trillion naira (US$57.77 billion).

The year also closed with two new equity listings on the main board and 10 new bond listings.

“The outlook for 2013 is largely positive for both the Nigerian economy and the Nigerian capital market as changes implemented in 2012 begin to crystallize in 2013. By the end of 2013, the NSE expects to be well-positioned to adapt our business to meet the needs of our clients, and to enable the Nigerian capital market absorb the forces of change reshaping global financial markets and the global exchange landscape,” Onyema added.

At the moment, the Nigerian Capital Market is facing challenges that bother on liquidity and depth, he indicated.

Analysts believe that the delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the law makers that is expected to encourage oil and gas companies get listed on the exchange and the non-listing of other companies in the telecommunication industry, is affecting the growth of the market.

Onyema said “if government initiatives in increasing power generation, financial inclusion, agricultural transformation, and strengthening fiscal discipline are pursued vigorously, this will have positive impacts on the market.

“The Exchange will continue with innovations centered on technology and product development, as well as on advocating changes to policy. By the end of 2013, we will have established our technology competitiveness, restored our regulatory soundness, and advocated the policy changes necessary to enable us absorb the forces of change.”

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