Stockbrokers: Why Govt Must Privatise Assets through Capital Market


Goddy Egene

Stockbrokers have insisted that the federal government must privatise any of its assets through the nation’s capital market for the benefits of all stakeholders.

Given the current economic recession, it has been said that the federal government needs to sell some of its assets that are not efficiently run and are constituting drain on its finances. Although the government is yet to decide which of the assets to privatise, it is one of the options economic and financial experts have proffered as a way out of the economic recession.

While the government is considering which assets to privatise, stockbrokers under the aegis of Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), have said the most efficient way to sell such assets will be through the capital market.

Speaking to THISDAY in Lagos, the Chairman of ASHON, Mr.O.P. Ezeagu said the capital market is the most transparent and efficient channel through which government can sell its assets with all stakeholders benefiting.

According to him, the privatisation of assets brings discipline to the system which ensures accountability, transparency and efficiency.

“The government should sell any assets through the most efficient and transparent channel which is the capital market. In that manner there is greater discipline brought into the system and environment. That discipline ensures transparent, accountability and efficiency. If government does that it means the people who own the assets will be better for it because they will have hit best of prices. Also, the fact there is a level of discipline that the capital market brings, because as we say as brokers, our word is our bond, the buyers will stick to their promises and deliver on all of them,” he said.

He explained that the selling documents of those assets would contain all the action points and the public will monitor and make sure that those milestones are achieved.

Ezeagu noted that if the power assets (discos) had been sold through the capital market, the challenges they are facing now would not have arisen, saying the companies would have been more efficiently run.

“What we have been doing in the past was that those in government take assets and projects and give to their cronies without attaching needed discipline and efficiency so that people can benefit,” noting that going forward, this strategy must change.

“In the spirit of change the current administration has to ensure that any asset to be sold is done through the capital market so the government will get a fair value, the buyers get access to funds to run the company and investors reap good returns on their investments,” the ASHON boss said.

The Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema had recently said the exchange would also continue its engagement efforts with the government to promote the listing of privatised state owned entities (SOEs), as well as engage with the private sector issuers for listings across all of our product categories.