The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema has said the exchange is commitment of to the growth of start-ups and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as part of efforts to grow the nation’s economy.
Onyema stated this yesterday, at the launch of NSE Growth Board (GB) in Lagos, saying the GB aims to encourage companies with high growth potential to seize the opportunity of raising long-term capital and promote liquidity in the trading of their shares.
“The board also presents as an avenue for companies in their growth phase to leverage the NSEs platform and varied products and services to achieve their long term business objectives,” he said.
According to him, the GB was designed to offer relaxed entry criteria and less stringent ongoing listing requirements and allows for greater accessibility to capital flows, global visibility and credibility through corporate disclosures.
He said the board, which restructures current market segments to better meet needs along company’s entire lifecycle, will be in two segments, entry platform and standard platform.
Onyema disclosed that the entry platform would be for companies with a market capitalisation from N50 milliom and above, while the standard platform would be for institutions with a market capitalisation between N500 million and N4 billion.
The CEO noted that the segmentation also provides alternative options for interested investors to participate in each company’s growth journey.
Onyema said: “To successfully achieve our listed company’s growth strategy and listing objective, the NSE will be collaborating with various strategic business partners and value added service providers to offer cost effective services designed to create a competitive edge for listed companies within their respective industries. This platform is pivotal to our efforts in catering to a segment of the economy that hitherto has been neglected and perceived as a high risk and low reward venture by most service providers especially in relation to access to capital from financial institutions.
“The traditional role of the exchange as an enabler of capital flow from areas of surplus to deficit holds good promise for its capability to support SMEs, as access to capital is the prime challenge faced by companies that are active in the SME sector.”
He explained that the SME space remained critical to the growth of the economy, noting that it had contributed about 48 per cent to the national gross domestic products (GDP) in the last five years.
“This segment of the economy also accounts for 96 per cent of operational businesses and 84 per cent of employment.
“With a total number of about 41.5 million enterprises, the SME segment accounts for nearly 90 per cent of companies operating in the manufacturing sector and 50 per cent of industrial jobs,” he added.