Elumelu Harps on Enabling Environment for Private Capital Investment

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*Wants IOCS, telcos to list on NSE

James Emejo in Abuja

Chairman, Heirs Holdings, Mr. Tony Elumelu on Tuesday tasked the three arms of government to hands-off business and rather provide an investor-‎friendly environment to woo and sustain private capital into various sectors of the economy.

‎He said: “There is so much global private capital seeking investment destinations. But as we know global private capital goes to where it is most welcome.

“Therefore, the challenge before all our three arms of government should be how to ensure we create the environment that will attract and retain these investments in our country.‎”

Speaking in Abuja at a two-day workshop on reviving the nation’s capital market, which was organised by the joint session of the National Assembly‎, Elumelu ‎ argued that there was need to fine tune most of the country’s legislation especially those that affect business operations in order to attract foreign private capital.

He said: “Our laws are not perfect, that we need to review, amend and enhance many of them to improve the lives of our citizens;
“The proper role of government is not to provide employment for everyone, but to create, sustain and secure an enabling environment for citizens to independently create their own jobs and their success, using their own talents; and

‎According to him, “Until we legislate laws that enhance the competitiveness of our economy and the ease of doing business in Nigeria, you should not have any feeling or sense of accomplishment.”

He said: “The private sector must take over the role the government sector has wrongly assumed all these years. But for that to happen, the government must focus on its proper role in creating, improving and strengthening the enabling environment for business.

“And government as we know is not only the executive arm. The trinity of government is accountable here. But the good news is that the legislative appears to be on the path to playing its part through initiatives such as this.”

In his delivery titled: “Deepening  the Nigerian Capital Market to Include Privatised and Systemically Important Entities‎”, he told the gathering that though many state-owned enterprises had been privatised, not many have come to the market to help create the middle class.

He said apart from Transcorp Hotels and a few others, the Systemically, important corporations including the IOCS, and Telcos are not listed on the stock market.

“This cuts off the ordinary Nigerians from benefiting from their country’s resource endowments,” he said.
‎He, however, canvassed tax holidays and other incentives to woo multinational to list on the capital market.

He said: “Listing of privatized entities and also the assessing and listing and systemically important entities helps to broaden middle class. And we know the strategic relevance of the middle class just like SMEs in this 21st century, they propel and drive the economy. By not including this segment we are actually not helping our companies to grow. So this observation calls for concerted efforts.
“All of us should make sure we encourage and incentivize these economies to take advantage of the opportunities that exist so we can collectively move the economy forward.”‎

He said: “My advice it is indeed in the interest of these systemically important entities to be listed on the market because it is when you democratise the access and ownership of these companies by listing them, that you create shared prosperity and that engenders shared purpose which creates mutual destiny.
“Where there is alignment of interests, we all walk in the same direction. When people feel that thee prosperity being created in a sector is not being controlled by a few but shared, it helps the operators in the sector to do well.‎”