Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed Visits NSE, Restates FG Commitment To Pro-Capital Market Policies


Tuesday, February 25, 2020 / 03.00PM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for WebTV / Header Image Credit:  WebTV


The Federal Government has assured stakeholders in the capital market that it is committed to policies that will help to boost the ecosystem and enhance wealth creation, job opportunities and economic growth in the country.


Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, disclosed this during her maiden visit to the Nigeria stock exchange in Lagos.


She described the capital market as the engine room of the nation's economy and informed the securities dealing members that the Federal Government has been working with the National Council of Exchange, NCE, over the years to leverage the capital market in supporting socio-economic projects in the country.


Speaking on the recently signed 2019 Finance Act, Mrs. Ahmed stressed that the legislation would help deepen the market and enable the activities of securities dealing members.


"Especially, the Finance Act 2019, focused on promoting fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation; reforming domestic tax laws to align with global best practices" Mrs. Ahmed.


She specifically noted that under the new legislation, there is an elimination of multiple corporate taxations under the "Excess Dividend Tax" rule - for only approved Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) duly regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.


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On the value of the Finance Act 2019, she stressed that the Tax incentives for investment in infrastructure and capital markets, supporting micro, small and medium-sized businesses in line with the ease of doing business reforms; and raising revenue for the government.


The Finance Minister said the government would work assiduously to encourage Nigerians to invest in the market.


According to her, the Nigerian economy will work effectively when domestic investors are larger in number and invested value than foreign investors.


Mrs. Ahmed said the Federal Government would ensure that it drives the National Savings Schemes to serve as a means of resource mobilization to address capital investment challenges.


Giving his response on the floor of the exchange, the Doyen of the NSE's Dealing members, Mr. Rasheed Yusuf, thanked the Minister for her maiden visit and tasked her to make a difference by listening and acting on areas that will promote market development.


He called on the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to use the capital market to finance capital projects in the country, like Lagos-Ibadan expressway, that can reduce the incidence of borrowings and an increasing debt profile.


Mr. Yusuf also harped on policies that will unlock the N10trn pension funds to contribute to the development of the national economy.


The Doyen also urged the Minister to leverage the capital market for the privatization process of the Federal Government, which will see more state-owned enterprises listed on the market.


At the interactive session between the Minister and stakeholders, the CEO of the Nigeria stock exchange Mr. Oscar Onyema said the event was one in the series of NSE-Government relations, which provided an opportunity for key policymakers to engage with market players on critical issues in the economy.


He commended the Minister for her role in returning the Nigerian fiscal budget to the January to December cycle, for the first time in 15 years.


Mr. Onyema also lauded the Federal Government Act, which was the first comprehensive tax reform in the country since 1999, which provides massive incentives for investments in the Nigerian capital market.


The event had in attendance the President of the Council of the NSE Prince Abimbola Ogunbanjo, Special Assistant to the President on Finance and Economy Dr. Sarah Alade, Acting Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission Ms. Mary Uduk and members of the Council of the NSE.


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