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SEC Lauds Master Plan’s Contribution to Economy

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC) has said the implementation of its 10-year capital market Master plan was already contributing to the growth and development of the Nigerian capital market, and by extension, the economy.

The Acting Director General of the SEC, Ms.

Mary Uduk disclosed this during the opening of a 2-day International Capital Market Conference held in Lagos, Wednesday, in collaboration with the University of Lagos.

Uduk described the theme of the Conference, “Leveraging the Capital Market for Economic Growth and Development” as apt and timely, given the pressing needs to grow the nation’s economy and achieve sustainable development.

 

According to her, “There is no doubt that the capital market can serve as a key catalyst for Nigeria’s economic growth and development, as it offers a credible platform for obtaining long- term financing. As we all know, long-term and affordable funds are required for businesses to thrive and in turn contribute to employment, growth and development.

“Beyond capital market’s contribution to economic growth, we aim at the larger goal of economic development. Added to increased production, the latter entails advancement in the quality of life and living standards of citizens in areas such as improvements in literacy, health and life expectancy, better savings and investment culture, financial inclusion, as well as improved wealth distribution, housing and environment”.

In a statement by SEC Head of Corporate Communication, Efe Ebelo, in Abuja on Wednesday, the acting DG stated further that Capital markets across the world have products and mechanisms to stimulate economic growth and development. 

She said although many of such products were available in Nigeria, there were aspects that were still untapped, thereby limiting the realization of the nation’s potentials.

“One major initiative to tap this potential was the development of a ten-year Capital Market Master Plan (CMMP), launched by the Commission in 2014. The Plan has over 100 initiatives to spring–board the Nigerian capital market as one of the world’s deepest and most liquid, as well as the largest in Africa by 2025. 

“It is also aimed at ensuring that the market contributes much more to the socio-economic development of the nation, particularly in facilitating capital-raising for sustainable development and transformation of key sectors” she said.

She said the successes recorded from these initiatives notwithstanding, the SEC recognised that much more still needed to be done for the Nigerian capital market to contribute its desired quota and take its rightful place in issues and discussions of Nigeria’s economic growth and development.

 “As we move into the future, we need to continuously embrace innovation in the way we carry out our market operations and regulation. Financial innovation is germane for the conception and delivery of a dynamic industrial society. Market participants and regulators have to continually familiarize themselves with the rapid ever-changing economic, regulatory and business environment.

“Beyond the conventional capital market products of equities and bonds as well as manual regulatory processes, the players and regulators in the Nigerian capital market are introducing new and innovative processes and products”.

Uduk disclosed that some of the SEC’s processes that were previously manual and inefficient were being automated. For instance, with the dematerialization process completed, investors no longer needed to worry about the loss or damage to their physical share certificates as they were now electronically stored.

She said the current e-Dividend system enables shareholders’ dividend to be paid directly into their bank accounts without the stress of dealing with physical dividend warrants. Also, the Direct Cash Settlement protects investors from funds mismanagement by ensuring that the proceeds of their shares sales were credited directly into their own account.

Uduk stated that while the current initiatives and efforts were to improve the past towards a better future, there was need to be more innovative to face the dynamic future, both as regulator and operators adding, “future belongs to those that are currently adopting relevant technologies and other improvements for efficiency.

In his remarks, Governor of Lagos state, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the state government was interested in the growth and development of the capital market. 

The Governor who was represented by Dr. Shamsudeen Allison, Director, Special Duties Office, Sanwo-Olu said the event was strategic in promoting business and development in Lagos state. 

Also speaking, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Unilag, Prof Oluwole Familoni said the conference was a good fora to discuss and proffer solutions to some of the problems being faced by the investing public and also an avenue for Nigerians to learn more about the Capital Market. 

Familoni expressed the hope that at the end of the conference, the Capital Market will be bette positioned for the development of the economy. 


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CGC Raises Concerns, as Customs Intercepts Cannabis, Codeine Worth N4.1b

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From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, has warned of the severe and devastating effects of the growing misuse and abuse of drugs on the youth and the society at large, as the agency intercepted cannabis indica and codeine worth N4.

1 billion.

Adeniyi spoke in Lagos over the weekend while showcasing the unwholesome imports comprising 1x40ft container of regulated, unregistered pharmaceuticals and another 1x40ft container of illicit psychotropic substances intercepted by the Tin Can Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

He disclosed that one of the 1x40ft containers No. GAOU 669921/5 imported from Canada, with approximate street value of N3.

216 billion, concealed three plastic drums with several packets of cannabis indica and 46bags of 2,144 packets of cannabis indica – all weighing 1,072kg.

The other contained 877 cartons of Barcadin cough syrup with codeine (200 bottles of 100ml per carton), and 82 cartons of Really Extra Diclofenac Sodium 50mg tablets (600 packs per carton) from India. The approximate street value of the cough syrup is N964.340 million.

According to him, the agency has made concerted efforts to prevent illegal entry and exit through diverse routes and means of conveyances, leading to a number of successfully executed interceptions and seizures of illicit drugs, arms and ammunition, illegal wildlife and petroleum products at various locations in recent months.

However, “these interceptions have brought to light a concerning trend wherein criminal networks engage in collaborative attempts to subvert the competency of the agencies tasked with mitigating the trafficking of such illicit substances,” he noted.

 “The misuse and abuse of drugs, particularly cannabis indica and codeine, pose severe dangers to our society. Codeine, a restricted drug in Nigeria, has been widely abused, leading to devastating effects on our youth.

 “This substance not only impairs the health and well-being of individuals but also contributes to the rise in criminal activities.  Cannabis indica, similarly, has become a significant concern, with its abuse leading to mental health issues, addiction, and social problems.

 “Unchecked activities involving restricted items serve multiple purposes for criminal elements. These drugs, for instance, are used as stimulants by criminals, further fueling societal unrest and instability.

 “Additionally, the proceeds from the illicit drug trade are often used to finance disruptions by non-state actors, posing a significant threat to our national security and economic stability.”

Nevertheless, Adeniyi noted that within its mandate of obstructing harmful and illegal substances from Nigerian communities, the NCS “will continue to work closely with relevant national and international agencies to conduct operations that lead to the interception of illegal goods and the disruption of criminal networks.

He disclosed that investigations were ongoing to bring perpetrators to book, while warning those engaging in illicit activities of the NCS’ unwavering vigilance and dedication to protecting the society and ensuring that all Nigerians benefit from a stable and prosperous economy.

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Investing in Davido, Meme Coins Highly Risky – SEC

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The Security and Exchange Commission has warned that investing in meme coins, including $Davido, is highly risky and should be done with a full understanding of the associated risk.

According to the Commission in a Circular, “The attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria (“SEC”) has been drawn to a meme coin known as “$Davido” allegedly linked to the popular Nigerian singer, David Adedeji Adeleke AKA Davido.

“Generally, meme coins are crypto-currencies inspired by memes and internet jokes. They are often envisaged as fun, light-hearted crypto-currencies promoted through a social media community and sometimes through celebrity endorsements”.

The SEC further stated that Meme coins are also NOT intended to serve as a medium of exchange accepted by the public as payment for goods and services, or as digital representation of capital market products such as shares, debentures, units of collective investment schemes, derivatives contracts, commodities or other kinds of financial instruments or investments.

The Commission therefore advised the general public that meme coins lack fundamental value and are purely speculative.

“The general public is further WARNED that investing in meme coins, including $Davido, is highly risky and should be done with a full understanding of the associated risk.

“Capital Market Operators are by this Notice warned not to associate with instruments that fall outside the SEC’s regulatory purview. Such instruments should not in any manner be distributed or monitored through any capital market mechanism”.

The SEC also emphasised that the Commission does not recognize $Davido as an investment product or investable asset class under its regulatory purview, as such individuals who patronize it, do so at their peril.

“The Commission will continue to monitor developments within the ecosystem and will not relent in deploying its regulatory powers as and when required” , the circular added.

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Business News

Blue Economy Targets Top Spot in PEBEC – Oyetola

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From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos

Mindful of the sector’s critical role in economic diversification and sustainable development, the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy aims to place Nigeria tops in the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) by achieving ease of doing business and fostering a conducive environment for trade and investment.

To this end, the Minister, Adegboyega Oyetola, said the ministry plans to elevate Nigeria’s maritime sector to global standards and has prioritised the implementation of the national single window and port community system to automate port processes, in order to enhance operational efficiency and attract investments.

Oyetola, who spoke at the BusinessDay Maritime Conference in Lagos Thursday, disclosed that the ministry has already reported significant progress in revenue generation, driven by innovative strategies to block revenue leakages and explore new sources within the marine and blue economy sector.

Others include ongoing efforts to upgrade infrastructure, such as the development of inland dry ports and modernisation projects at key ports across the country, while public-private partnerships (PPPs) in advancing port modernisation, dredging activities and deploying cutting-edge maritime technologies remain important.

He further announced plans for the development of additional deep-sea ports on a PPP basis to further bolster Nigeria’s maritime capabilities.

Acknowledging the significant contributions of participants in shaping the discourse in Nigeria’s marine and blue economy, Oyetola expressed hope that insights from the conference would drive positive transformations and propel Nigeria towards greater economic prosperity through the harnessing of its vast maritime resources.

He restated his commitment to developing a dynamic national policy framework for the sector by the end of the year, while urging all stakeholders to continue working together towards realising the sector’s full potential, ensuring sustainable growth and inclusive development across coastal communities.

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