Monday, 9 February 2015

Nigeria, UK Strengthen Ties to Boost Capital Market and Trade.

President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede

As part of efforts to strengthen economic cooperation, promote mutual development and trade between Nigeria and the United Kingdom, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr. Andrew Pocock at the weekend held a strategic meeting with the President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.
The meeting was a follow up to an earlier agreement signed between the NSE and London Stock Exchange (LSE) on how to mutually support both markets that took place in Lagos last November, when a UK delegation came to Nigeria.
Addressing select journalists at the end of the closed-door meeting with Pocock, Aig-Imoukhuede pointed out that the meeting was important because the initiative was launched at a time when global factors and forces had influenced the movement of capital flows,
This, according to the former Access Bank CEO, underscored the need for the initiative.
According to Aig-Imoukhuede, since the agreement was entered into, there have been several meetings on how to drive the initiative.
“We have determined the roles and responsibilities and how they would be apportioned and shared. This month, the lawyers on both sides, that is, the UK Law Society and the Capital Market Solicitors Association of Nigeria would be meeting in the UK.
“In March or April, we intend to have a one-day workshop where all the stakeholders from the Nigerian side meet our counterparts in the UK for one day and formerly sign up the initiative.
“As you know already anyway, this is a catalyst and it is not to say we want to put everything within the boundary of this taskforce and already some of those things are already taking place as you know,” he explained.
He noted that in terms of the MoU that was signed between the LSE and the NSE towards expanding dual listing, the meeting with the High Commissioner  signposts the importance of the initiative to all stakeholders.
On his part, Pocock stressed that the British government has huge interest in the stability, security, development and prosperity of Nigeria.
According to him, the agents of the commercial interest in Nigeria are the British companies and British investors.
He added: “So, what we are interested in doing as a government is to encourage our companies to look at Nigeria and helping them with access to the market.
“In addition to this initiative on capital market which is about increasing mutual access to resources and financial instruments, we are looking also at a broader Nigerian economy. We have particular interest in well-established industries here like in the oil and gas and many other smaller companies in Nigeria.
“We have legacy companies here in Nigeria such as PZ Cussons, Guinness Nigeria, Glaxosmithkline and others. What is new is that we are expanding the nature of our involvement and interest in the Nigerian economy, particularly in value-adding service areas.
“The financial service sector speaks for itself. Lagos is actually the capital and there is increasing financial services activities.”
In addition, he disclosed that the UK investors are considering investing in the Nigerian education sector.
“Nigerians have interest in British educational standards and syllabuses and what has been the case has been either distance learning or Nigerian students going to the UK. But we like a reverse flow.
“We like to bring British educational products and institutions to Nigeria. I mean to bring the product to the marketplace. Health is another area that we are interested in and again I would say that given the economic and physical restructuring that would have to happen in the life of the new government, the diversification of the Nigerian economy which has been long discussed but frequently delayed, we think is an area that British companies can help in,” added.
Also, Pocock noted that while there is a huge interest in Nigeria, the UK government wants to make sure the risk perception at the moment don’t overshadow the opportunities in the country.
“So, as a government, part of our role is to find a balance between risk and opportunity in Nigeria and this initiative is a welcome channel for such.” THISDAY

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