Shareholders in the country’s equities market have called on the Federal Government to do everything within its reach to encourage telecommunications and power firms to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
They said citing the shallow nature of the Nigeria’s capital market, which is depicted by the poor capitalisation threshold.
The shareholders warned that legislations and regulations in such industries should be good enough to attract potential firms, especially those that have indicated interest to list her shares on the Exchange.
Calling for deepening of the country’s capital market, the President, Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Mikail, in an interview, said the current state of the country characterised by multiple regulation and uninformed legislations, was enough to discourage firms nursing the desire to list on the NSE.
He said the current poor economic decisions of the government, for instance, were not only deterring firms in the manufacturing sector to come on board, but had made some of the listed companies to pull out.
“Our government is not being proactive. The issues of multiple taxation and unfriendly legislative dispositions are clear areas a firm like MTN Nigeria has complained about. But we are not addressing the issues but want them to come and list. This is not fair,” Mikail said.
He said with the prevailing unstable economic policies and fiscal regime, the country might not be doing much to change the shallow status of the capital market.
The CSAN boss said for instance, the current controversy surrounding the MTN Nigeria sanction, was a distraction for the company which had announced it was planning to list on the NSE in 2017. “Companies like that and others in the power sector, might conclude that getting listed will expose them to more fines and sanctions, and therefore, keep their operations private,” he explained.
He urged the government to be more liberal considering the fact that capital is a ‘coward’, and will run away from any signs of uncertainty.
For the sectors that might produce new intakes on the NSE, he said government must endeavour to show more commitment to the potential firms, and review its “body language” and policies to encourage them.
In the same vein, the President, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Boniface Okezie, said this was the time for government to bring forth incentives like tax holidays and other benefits for firms intending to list on the NSE.
He said, “As we speak, companies are leaving the NSE and more will leave if the conditions are not favourable. This is not the time to scare away firms with our laws and regulations. We need to give them tax waivers and manage the current complexities in a regulatory framework. A company like MTN should be encouraged.
“The Federal Government needs to provide the requisite infrastructure these firms need to thrive. But we are even lucky that players in the telecoms space, for instance, generate their own power majorly and use the national grid as a back-up. It is unfortunate; but these are the areas we need to look at as a government,” Okezie said.
He described as unnecessary the activities of local, state and the Federal Government in imposing arbitrary taxes on the firms, saying such unfriendly acts were capable of keeping would-be investors away.
On the power sector, he said a lot of investments had been done and there was the need to reap the benefits now.
Speaking on the activities of Nigerian legislators, he said their primary aim should be to protect the economy and Nigerians, and ensure that their legislations were in the best interest of the people.
Also speaking, the President, Renaissance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Olufemi Timothy, urged the NSE to put the market in order so that new firms could be attracted to the market.
He said if everything was done right in terms of legislation and the NSE relented in playing its role, the situation of the capital market would remain deplorable.