By NBF News

As Nigeria celebrated its 50th anniversary last Friday, operators and investors have taken a look at the performance of the Nigerian capital market in the past 50 years and gave it a pass mark.

The stakeholders who spoke to journalists said that irrespective of the challenges of the nation's stock market, it has performed better on the average over the years.

Mr. Henry Olayemi, former President of Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) and Managing Director of Reward Investment and Services Limited, said that the market has grown in leaps and bounds in terms of instruments and number of operators, sophistication and depth.

'The market has also moved from well regulation to loose regulation. Returns on investments have appreciated significantly. The market is now a must for well informed investor. The market can boast of modern Information Technology and infrastructure to compete with advanced markets,' he said.

Olayemi added that market has provided the much needed capital for our economic development.

'We can now talk of the real sector of our economy because there is the capital market where one can raise the capital. The market has within 50 years contributed to the development of the national development. There is the latest opportunity to grow the market and overall economy going forward,' he said.

In his assessment, the Chief Responsibility Officer of Value Investing limited, Mr. Seye Adetunmbi said it has been mixed grill of the good, bad and ugly for the market. 'It has been a learning curve for all stakeholders. It has exposed capacity gap among operators and regulators. The need for the market to be corporate governance driven has become inevitable. In all, the market has provided opportunity for new entrants with investible funds to take position in stocks with good fundamentals that are in their lowest ebb,' he said.

The National Coordinator, Shareholders United Front (SUF), Mr. Gbenga Idowu, said that the market has come a long way despite the current challenges. 'It has grown in size and depth. There is much awareness now about its activities. It is one of the economic barometers of the nation,' Idowu said. Speaking in the same vein, the General Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Mr. Adebayo Adeleke, said that in spite of the current challenges, the NSE has actually served as a vehicle for long term capital formation for Nigerian companies.

The General Secretary of Zonal Shareholders Association Coordinating Committee, Mrs. Oludewa Thorpe, said the NSE has come a long way. She remembered with nostalgia how the NSE began operations with a half floor on the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) House, Broad street Lagos, saying there were few quoted stocks then.

'Then investors looked elsewhere because the stock market was not contemplated. Only very cream of the society dealt in stocks. But now, it is no longer like that. Today, ordinary man on the streets, including artisans, okada rider, pepper sellers among others with no understanding of the market mechanisms are players. Millions of naira have been made and lost by others. NSE restructuring should work on investor education for the next few years,' he said.

In his opinion, the Chairman, Ibadan Zone Shareholders of Nigeria, Chief Aderemi Oyepeju said that market has performed well over the years. According to him, the current downturn may only retard the growth temporarily.

'I believe the efforts of the Interim Administrator of the NSE; Mr. Mr. Emmanuel Ikazoboh will yield results. However, the CBN, SEC and NSE among other regulators in the financial sector should work together. The issue of margin loans should be reconsidered by the CBN because it is one of the factors causing the persistent bear run,' Oyepeju said.