Infrastructure development, anti-dote to market recovery, says Okezie



"Unless government begins to tackle the problem of infrastructure, we cannot expect a meaningful growth in the Nigerian capital market and the economy at large," the chairman, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Boniface Okezie, has said.



Okezie, while reviewing market performance in 2009 at a press briefing in Lagos yesterday, submitted that even the bullish rally record in the market at the beginning of the year cannot be sustained if issue of infrastructure which currently is in comatose is not properly addressed. Besides, he stated that regulatory authorities should come up with new laws and positive pronouncements that could help move the market forward.



According to him, when adequate infrastructure are put in place, the economy would grow, quoted companies would record improved performance, declare profit which would impact positively on the market.



The Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Professor Ndi-Okereke Onyiuke had earlier assured investors that the days of doom were over in the Nigerian capital market. "Some of our erstwhile foreign investors are returning while new investors are seeking opportunities, considering the key attributes of high returns, liquidity and safety of investments. The doom days are over. Investors should renounce their apathy and come back to the market because we are looking forward for the cycle of boom."



Okezie emphasised that the market would not grow if the regulators fail to take all stakeholders along in the decision-making. He faulted the approach taken by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the on-going sanitisation exercise, noting that the CBN governor should have extended the reforms to the regulatory authorities, including the apex bank, to ensure a more holistic approach, rather than limiting it to the banks.



He said, "for the capital market to move forward, the drivers of the economy must put things right. If you do not develop infrastructure, you can not anticipate growth in the economy and this is having a multiplier effect on the market.



"It is not yet uhuru for the capital market. The regulators should sit up and do the right thing. We have not seen any meaningful thing coming out from CBN reforms. The banks are now are not lending. The approach is bad and it is affecting other sectors. Sanusi mixed it up. If he has genuine reform without taking CBN first, then his effort is futility."



Speaking on the DG's intention to retire from office toward the end of the year, Okezie described it as "decision in right direction, but however, argued that there was need to choose a successor among the executives of the NSE.



Specifically, he pointed out that the Assistant Director-General (DG) of the NSE, Mr. Lance Elakama was qualified. He still still have four more years to serve.



"The DG should not look for someone else to succeed her. There must be continuity. The Assistant DG is able to take over the post. Elekama is qualified. He still has four years to go. He should be able to assume the position than going outside to look for someone. He should be confirmed and allowed to take over the activities of the Nigerian capital market."



(Source: Guardian)

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