National Assembly complex
By Goddy Egene
Strong indications emerged at the weekend that the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markets and Institution was planning to partner the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), in its efforts to woo multinational telecommunications(telcos), oil and gas companies, operating in the country to list on the Exchange.
The absence of the major players in the nation’s economy from the Exchange is said to be one of the reasons, the market is not as attractive to foreign investors.
Besides, the Exchange, which is supposed to be the barometer to measure the direction of the economy is not playing that role due to the absence of the telcos and oil prospecting firms.
However, the House Committee is making efforts to ensure that the capital market is repositioned to play its role. Listing the telcos and oil firms is one of the ways to achieve that.
Speaking on its strategies last week, Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Hermen Hembe, had disclosed that a bill was being planned to compel the companies to list their shares on the Exchange.
Competent market sources told THISDAY that the Committee planned to work closely with SEC and NSE, in order to come out with a bill that would serve the interest of all stakeholders.
“The Committee is thinking of how to get a joint bill that will mandate/compel those multinational companies operating in the country to list their shares for the growth of the nation economy. The Committee believes that getting the input of market regulators and operators would avoid certain mistakes as they are in charge of the market and know the challenges that may come against the bill,” the source said.
The source added that the Committee would soon be holding meetings with SEC and NSE in that regard.
Hembe had lamented that telcos and oil companies made huge profits in the country but were not listed on the exchange so that more Nigerians could benefit in form of dividends among others.
“MTN, for instance got a licence in 2001 for the sum of $285 million mostly financed by Nigerian banks. Between January and June of the same year, MTN repatriated some $5 billion as profits from their Nigerian operations,” he said.
Speaking on the bill, the chairman said it would get telcos in the country listed on the Nigerian bourse.
Speaking on the energy sector, Hembe said the Committee would set out to get the sector and its players also listed on the bourse of NSE.
The legislator had disclosed that Committee would partner relevant stakeholders to speed up passage of the Petroleum Industries Bill (PIB) to foster subsequent listing of major upstream players.
He said: “We would also legislate to get power generation and distribution companies listed once the process of their privatisation is complete. What needs to be done is very clear to us and the general consensus is that the reforms we have planned will address the development gaps as observed.”