Ms Arunma Oteh, DG, SEC
By Goddy Egene
As part of the efforts to deepen the Nigerian capital market and widen its products offerings, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are championing the revival of the Abuja Securities and Commodities Exchange (ASCE).
The ASCE, which was established as the Abuja Stock Exchange, was converted to a commodity exchange to facilitate trade in commodities as opposed to shares and bonds.
Although it commenced operations in 2006 as a commodity exchange trading in sorghum, maize, cowpea, Soya beans, sesame seeds and millets, it has not been as active as expected.
In other to revive the Exchange, a committee has been set up by the regulators headed by the Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Financial System Stability, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu.
Speaking at the 7th Annual PEARL Awards Public Lecture last Friday in Lagos, Moghalu said that for the nation’s agricultural sector to play a leading role in the diversification of the Nigerian economy, there must be a functional commodity exchange.
Moghalu, who represented the CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, explained that the revival of the ASCE would complement the agriculture lending efforts of the CBN.
“We want to make sure that the ASCE functions well to accommodate the agricultural products expected to be produced through the lending the apex bank is giving stakeholders in the sector,” he said.
He declared CBN’s support for the current reforms Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is carrying out which are aimed at repositioning the capital markets.
“Capital markets provide a level playing ground for the numerous organisations seeking to raise funds. A competition for funds drives businesses to outperform each other to the benefit of the economy. In this vein, the capital market efficiently allocates financial resources to the benefit of the economy,” he said.
Restating SEC’s commitment to investors’ protection in the market, the Commission’s Director-General, Ms. Arunma Oteh assured that more enlightenment programmes would be organised to make the investors understand the market better.
According to her, the actions taken to reposition the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and operators in the market are geared towards making the market attractive for investors, companies and all stakeholders.
Oteh disclosed that apart from intensifying investor education, SEC would also put in place an investors’ protection funds to compensate investors who are defrauded in course of investing in the market.