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JONATHAN VISITS STOCK EXCHANGE TODAY

By NBF News
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A week after he was sworn in, President Goodluck Jonathan is expected at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) today as a special guest at the Exchange's ceremony to commemorate its 50th anniversary, raising hope of silver lining behind the dark clouds of Nigeria's equities market.

Although details of the planned visit of the President were sketchy at the close of business on Friday, the Exchange's spokesman, Mr. Wole Tokede, confirmed to Daily Sun that he was expected to grace the commemoration event.

A senior dealing member of the Exchange who did not want his name on print disclosed that the Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON) consider the President's visit as a fertile ground to seek government's definitive action to stabilize the market.

'As umbrella body of stockbrokers, ASHON will present a paper to the President articulating some of the areas and issues we would want him to address. But most importantly, we will urge him to tell us government's plan fir the market', said the stockbroker.

According to the dealing member, there is a compelling need to do something more definitive to make the market rebound and sustain the rebound, too, adding that the reforms initiated by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the NSE have not resulted a sustainable rebound several months after.

When contacted, ASHON chairman, Alhaji Rasheed Yussuuf, stated that the reforms had dwelt on regulatory and compliance issues, pointing out that until the heart of the problem is addressed the market will still remain where it is.

'The reforms as good as they are must go to the heart of the heart of the market which is the stockbroker.

'The issue of liquidity has to be addressed, and in addressing it the dealing members who lost huge funds as part of their percentage contribution to the margin facility accessed from banks should be provided with certain percentage of their loan as cushion to help them move on with their business.'It is only then they will begin to play their role again as liquidity provider in the market. Without that I wonder how the market can bounce back to sustainable profitability', Yussuuf stated.

Other issues Yussuuf said they would present to the visiting President Jonathan bother on opening up the economy to private sector participation using the telecommunication model where constraints were removed for active private sector participation. He said they would urge the President to use telecommunication model for agriculture, power and energy (oil and gas), other key sectors of the economy, and appoint regulatory body for the different sectors.

According to him, when these are done the economy will experience tremendous growth that impact all areas of business in the country. Meanwhile, the equity market defied stockbrokers' expectations of bearish surge and sustained previous week's resilient posture where the market experienced bullish trend on the back of consistent rally towards blue chip stocks.

Market capitalization that measures value of equities appreciated by N42.76 billion to close at N8.30 trillion on Friday as against appreciation of N18.07 billion recorded previous week to close at N8.25 trillion.

Also, the benchmark index, the All-Share Index, rose by 0.52 percent to close at 25,963.50 as against an upbeat by 0.15 percent recorded previous week to close at 25,829.75.

The total volume traded in the week under review closed at 1.14 billion units valued at N11.51 billion compared with 1.23 billion units valued at N10.17billion exchanged in 27,401 deals previous week.