Being the acceptance speech by Alh. Aliko Dangote on assumption of office as the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s 17th President of the Council.
August 06, 2009
Past Presidents, Distinguished Colleagues in Council,
It is with great pleasure and humility that I accept your decision to become the 17th President of the Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. I have no doubt whatsoever that without the conviction and support of all of you particularly that of the immediate past President, Oba Otudeko and our great Director General who worked timelessly for the last 10 days, I may not have become the President of the NSE.
I want to seize this opportunity to thank all of you immensely, particularly the Past Presidents of Council, our indefatigable Director General, Professor Ndidi Okereke-Onyuike, all Council Members, Stockbrokers, family, friends and well wishers who lavishly gave their support and encouragement to ensure that the proper thing is done and that the esteemed tradition of the Stock Exchange is preserved.
I have no doubt that my tenure as the President of the NSE will be tough and challenging especially because of the global economic downturn, its effect on our economy and our capital market. However, I believe that these challenges will provide the opportunity for us to reposition our Stock Exchange and capital market to become the leading Stock Exchange in Africa for capital formation driven by TRANSPARENCY, innovation, efficiency and liquidity.
During my tenure as President, I will be guided by the following 5 key themes:
1. Transparency and improved governance of the market
2. Improving the liquidity, turnover and size of the market
3. Enhancing market efficiency by ensuring clearer and updated rules, processes and procedures
4. Provision of world class infrastructure and technology for our market
5. Massive capacity building and rapid skill enhancement of the staff of the stock exchange an investor education.
The effects of the global financial meltdown and the subsequent massive outflow of investments from our stock market led to a precipitous slide in the value of securities in our market. This has greatly shaken confidence in the market. This will be accomplished by ensuring that we have a more open and fair market, improving the disclosure standards, forging a closer and better collaboration with other regulators, particularly SEC (while still protecting the independence of the NSE).
Our zero tolerance regime will be emboldened to ensure speedy penalties on operators who flout our rules. Our surveillance, compliance and enforcement units will be further strengthened to ensure that they operate optimally. We will update our corporate governance rules not only for our listed companies but also for operators and the Council itself because charity begins at home.
If the Stock Exchange and its dealing members must continue to remain viable economic units, we must make sure that we increase the liquidity and turnover in the market. One of my first missions will be to lead and intensify discussions with other relevant parties in the economy to put in place a plan to improve the liquidity and turnover in our market, particularly in the secondary market. We have to discuss and agree on what to do with the ’toxic assets’ in our market and very critically how to provide funding for our stock brokers to refloat their businesses.
If we are to compete with other market on the continent, then we have to begin aggressively marketing all the high quality companies in the sub region to make sure that they are listed in our market. I will make sure that we take very concrete steps to ensure that we further deepen and expand our market by introducing other products and attracting more investors. Working with the management of the NSE, I will make sure that we adhere to the timetable to dematerialize the market, so that by January 2010 we do not have certificates in our market.
I will ensure that we strictly implement the ongoing enterprise business transformation exercise which is aimed at improving the efficiency in the operations of the market and update the entire business processes of the Stock Exchange. I am aware that the business transformation team is currently working on the detailed operating process for each business unit of the NSE. What is left is to ensure that market rules are reviewed, aligned and harmonized with issuance and trading practices and technology. Given the recent world wide experience, risk issues have now come to the fore in the markets. We have no choice than to increase our focus on ALL RISK issues that are likely to affect our market.
Our technology infrastructure will continue to be central in our competitiveness as a market, therefore starting today, we commence work to decide on the new technology platform which will take our market to the next level. It will include a world-class trading engine, a surveillance platform and all other features required for the efficient running of a capital market.
I am aware that the management of the NSE has done a lot of work to improve the physical infrastructure and enabling environment of the NSE building in Lagos. I am informed that we have started fixing the power problems and the elevators in the building. The focus will now be to continue the renovation of the NSE building so that we can give proper facelift in readiness for our golden jubilee celebration in a few years time. Finally, we will make sure that the security in the NSE building is improved upon and that we continually test our business continuity plans.
Since the Stock Exchange business is driven by skills and ideas, our staff must at all times be abreast of development in global capital markets and stay ahead of the market they supervise. Therefore, in line with the business transformation plan, we will improve the competency level of every staff of the NSE. Council will approve a capacity building blueprint covering not only our staff but also other market operators before the end of the year.
We realize that investors have options on where they can invest their savings and challenge therefore is to ensure that our market is continuously competitive and attractive to investors and issuers alike.
My fellow colleagues, the task of taking our markets to the next level will undoubtedly be quite daunting, but I believe that with your cooperation and that of the management of the NSE, In-sha Allah we will succeed.
Once again, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve.