By Eromosele Abiodun
A former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has advised the federal government to source medium and long term fund from the nation’s capital market to execute capital projects.
Besides, Obasanjo has endorsed the on-going capital market literacy programme of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) as a veritable strategy to expose Nigerians to the pre-eminent position of the capital market in the development of any economy.
In a closed door meeting with the principal officers of the CIS at his Ota country home at the weekend, Obasanjo commended the institute for taking its enlightenment programme of the relevance of the capital market to the growth and development of Nigeria’s economy to the door step of every citizen.
He also expressed optimism that the Institute’s introduction of Diploma Programme in Securities and Investment as a major approach to bring the youths into the capital market community as future entrepreneurs.
Obasanjo explained that the Nigeria’s capital market had always been a platform where individuals can undertake capital formation while corporate organisations and governments at all tiers can mobilise medium and long term funds for development projects.
He noted that no economy could thrive without a strong and virile capital market.
According to him, there is a correlation between the development of an economy and its capital market.
He advised the federal government to take advantage of Nigeria’s capital market to revive the economy by sourcing cheap funds to finance budget deficit and execute the capital projects in the 2016 fiscal budget.
Obasanjo stated that many embattled economies had bounced back on the strength of their capital market. He specifically cited Ethiopia where the economic revival was achieved through effective and efficient deployment of the Commodity Exchange by its government.
As a strategy to reinforce the federal government’s diversification programme, Obasanjo urged the Federal Government to ensure immediate commencement of operation at the Abuja Commodity Exchange (NXC)
He urged the principal officers of the CIS to provide technical support for the federal government to expedite action on the commencement of the NXC. He advised the CIS to tap from the Ethiopian model in this regard.
Responding, the President and Chairman, Governing Council of the CIS, Mr. Oluwaseyi Abe recalled that as Nigeria’s president , Obasanjo had taken keen interest in ensuring a sustainable capital market operation.
Abe explained that when Obasanjo assumed office as the president, there was an increase in the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s market capitalisation from about N700 billion to N14 trillion by the time he left.
“However, after the exit of Obasanjo as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria the capital market had witnessed a downturn from N14 trillion about N9 trillion currently, ” said Abe.
Abe stated that the purpose of the visit was to discuss issues of market development with Chief Obasanjo in continuation of the Institute’s efforts to ensure a stronger and sustainable capital market with renewed interest and confidence of all stakeholders.
Obasanjo, who appreciated the Institute for taking a bold step in addressing issues affecting the Nigerian Capital Market promised to support the Institute in its advocacy for market development.
He advised that there was need to increase the level of financial literacy among the citizens and local investors in Nigeria with active government participation.