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By NBF News
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Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema, has disclosed that the newly revised listing rules are targeted at the Small Medium Enterprises, SMEs, telecommunication firms and oil and gas companies.

He also stated that more than 81 per cent of activities in the NSE are driven by foreign investors. Oscar made the disclosure during the Academy for Entreprenurial Studies (AES) Excellence Club's monthly business luncheon in Lagos, revealing further that three years after the burst in the stock market, investors confidence is still eroded.

He said, 'We are working very hard to make sure we bring local investors back to our market, our market today is largely driven by foreign investors, 81 per cent of the activities in the market is by foreign companies, that means that we have a lot of work to do to bring back confidence.

'Recently, we introduced new listing rules into stock market to meet global standards, but we found that we are sterner than the London Stock Exchange and other exchanges.

'For example, the five-year financial report requirements, most exchanges in the world stipulates three years. So we wanted to benchmark against global best practices and make our exchange a listing destination, more flexible, so that the oil and gas, telecommunication and the SMEs that were not interested before can actually look at us. Instead of five years we are now looking for three years.'

He lamented that the agric sector accounts for over 40 per cent of the country's GDP but accounts for less than one per cent of the market capitalization; oil and gas accounts for 14 per cent but accounts for three percent of the market capitalisation and power is about 45 per cent of GDP but zero per cent of the market capitalisation.

He said, 'The oil and gas sector accounts for about 90 per cent of the country's foreign earnings but in terms of GDP is only 14 per cent, Telecom is one of the fastest growing areas in terms of GDP and contributes significantly to the GDP in terms of company focus but contributes about five or six percent of GDP and 0.99 per cent of market capitalization.'

On the NSE being a bearish market, he explained that the official definition of a bearish market is a market that has gone down by 20 per cent, 'and we have not reach that level, last year we were down by 17 per cent, a lot of people believe that once your market is going down, it is a bear market, but really it has to be 20 per cent.

However, Oscar said, 'Our focus at the NSE is to revitalize the capital market, so that we can begin to mobilise fund to businesses, infrastructure development and wealth creation. We are doing this not only from local market but also from the international market.'

Meanwhile, President Governing Council, AES Excellence Club, Mr. Ausbeth Ajagu said that the Excellence club has evolved as Nigeria's foremost intellectual forum where some professionals in the private and public sector converge to interact, network and proffer solutions to identified issues bothering the nation and suggest ways of attaining sustainable growth and development.