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FG urges capital market operators on retail investments

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The Federal Government on Thursday advised capital market operators to consider retail investments, to enable ordinary citizens in the country to invest in the market.

Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, made the call at the 5th Budget Seminar webinar in Abuja.

The seminar was organised by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Ahmed said that retail investment would make citizens invest in the market in an easy and simple way.

She described the theme of the seminar:`Financing Nigeria’s Budget and Infrastructure Deficits through the Capital Market’ as apt, given the urgent need to build infrastructure in the country.

The minister remarked that the capital market served as an important channel through which government budget and economic infrastructure deficits could be financed.

“Past experiences have shown that the capital market has been supportive in providing the necessary funds to finance governments’ projects.

“The budget is N13.95 trn, capital expenditure of N4.37trn amounting to 32.2 per cent of the total expenditure and overall deficit of N5.6 trn to be financed by almost equally domestic and foreign sources.

“Government is committed to introducing more of these instruments in partnership with the capital market, to finance projects for economic growth.

“Following from today’s discussions, it is important that we go forward putting together key lessons and recommendations.

“The recommendations which we can apply not only as input into the next budget but also the Nigeria Medium Term Development Plan, Nigeria Agenda 2050 and the Finance Bill for 2022.”

The Director-General of SEC, Mr Lamido Yuguda, said that capital market had the capacity to roll out innovative products to support the country’s infrastructure needs and financing.

“This is necessary for us to be able to effectively compete with the rest of the world.

“The communiqué from this meeting will be circulated to relevant public and private sectors stakeholders as input in financial discuss on fiscal policy,” Yuguda said.

Mrs Patience Oniha, Director-General, Debt Management Office (DMO), said the government had a role as an enabler and pioneer, creating a platform for the market to thrive.

Aisha Dahir-Umar, the Director-General, National Pension Commission (PenCom), said the pension sector was ready to invest in the market.

Dahir-Umar, who was represented by Dr Farouk Aminu, Head of Corporate Affairs of the commission, said the sector was in the market to develop the capacity and provide them the instruments.

Dr Afolabi Olowookere, Head of Economic Research and Policy Management Division of SEC, harped on the need for infrastructure provided in the country to be revenue generating, with adequate cost recovery system adopted.

Mr Chidi Izuwah, Director-General, Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) emphasised the need for the country to close infrastructure gaps.

Izuwah, who was represented by Mr Emmanuel Onwodi, the Director of Transportation in the commission, said the ICRC was ready to play its roles toward closing the gap.

It was reported that various stakeholders in the market attended the seminar.

Ginika Okoye

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