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ENLISTING MORE FOREIGN AND PRIVATE COMPANIES ON THE NIGERIAN STOCK EXCHANGE

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In 1960, the Nigerian Stock Exchange was founded, butoperation actually began in 1961 with about 19 securities listed for trading inLagos where it was established. Like Nigeria which got her independence in1960, but became a republic in 1963, the name of the Nigerian stock market metamorphosed from LagosStock Exchange being the founding name in 1960 to The Nigerian Stock Exchangein 1977. As a market that serves as a platform for the mobilization of funds or capital forlong term investment or developmentalprojects, the exchange has many branches in the country and there are in the followingcities; Kaduna branch came in toexistence in 1978, Port Harcourt branch came in to existence in 1980, Kanobranch 1989, Onitsha branch 1990, Ibadan branch 1990, Abuja branch 1999, Yolabranch 2002, Benin branch 2005, Uyo branch 2007, Ilorin branch 2008, Abeokutabranch 2008, Owerri branch 2009

and Bauchi branch 2009. As of September 5, 2012, The Nigerian Stock Exchange hadabout 200 companies listed with a market capitalization of about N7.8 trillionwhich is more than the nation's entire budget for this year! However, the market is fast recovering from the bloody nosegiven to it by the global economic crises which originated from the UnitedStates of America. Before the crisis, the market capitalization of the NSE wasaround N13 trillion, but when it took its own share of the compulsory globalbitter pills, the market capitalization and other indices used in measuring thestrength of the market shranked astronomically. Just like life it's self whichis not fair to all, the crashed market recorded its own casualties; among whom werepeople who used their entire life savings to invest in the market with undoubtedbelieve that their future will be secured and greater than their past. Thisshows that life has no specific formula! Following the

indifference that greeted the market from allsides after the economic crisis comparable only to the “Great Depression”, theFederal Government decided to rejig the market through various means. Some ofthem include the exception of the Value Added Tax VAT and Stamp Duty Charges ontransactions carried on the Stock Market. All these policy relaxations weremeant to attract and restore investors' confidence in to the market. Nonetheless, sectoral analysis of the market shows that, thetelecommunication sector is under-represented. It is even more dishearteningthat, none of the major national telecom company's shares are traded on ourstock exchange market! Is it not farcical that a sector that makes about N90billion on monthly bases is not quoted on the NSE? What is really happening tothis sector? Or is it a deliberate action? Is there any double Standard dealingsomewhere? Investigations have revealed that some of the multinationalcompanies whose shares

are duly traded on other stock exchange markets are notquoted on our own stock exchange market. Does that mean Nigerians don't deserveto be part owners of these companies? The raison d'être behind such practice isstill indiscernible to Nigerians! Until cogent and verifiable reason is offered,Nigerians will keep asking for answers to the above questions. But, let mestate categorically that, if it is a deliberate policy and efforts made andsustained that Nigerians should not be part owners of these companies, whereasother multinational companies in other sectors are duly quoted on our stockmarket, then there should not like our money, because, you can't like our moneyand deny us access and the privilege to be part owners of the companies thatrender the services we consume! Similarly, it may be convenient to allude that, there arenot lacking funds in their operations, but the fact remains that, getting thestocks of these companies quoted on the NSE

will give Nigerians the sense ofbelonging in the companies that does business in their backyards. It will alsoconsolidate on the Federal Governments drive to hit poverty below the beltzone. A booming capital market is a plus for both the government and all thecompanies doing business in the country, because, when the chips are down, the marketserves as the nexus for the mobilization of long and medium term funds forbusiness expansion or re-invention of moribund businesses. Finally, the management of the Nigerian Stock Exchangeshould review the fees they charge for enlisting new companies on the exchange market,because, report indicates that the NSE charge 0.3 percent of the prospectivecompany's market capitalization before enlisting it on the Main Board of theexchange market whereas the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the Nairobi StockExchange charge 0.04 percent and 0.06 percent of the prospective company's marketcapitalization respectively.

Something drastic must be done to argument thegovernment efforts to re-invent the Nigerian Stock Exchange Market! Comrade Edwin Ekene is the National President of YoungNigerians for Change.No. 29, Ben Mbamalu Crescent, Achara Layout, Enugu State.07065862479, [email protected]

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Articles by Edwin Uhara