The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday urged the capital market participants to embrace innovation in all market operations and regulation.
Ms Mary Uduk, SEC Acting Director-General, stated this at the opening ceremony of a two-day international capital market conference held in Lagos, in partnership with the University of Lagos.
Uduk said that financial innovation was germane for the conception and delivery of a dynamic industrial society.
“As we move into the future, we need to continuously embrace innovation in the way we carry out our market operations and regulation.
“Market participants and regulators have to continually familiarise themselves with the rapid ever-changing economic, regulatory and business environment.
“Beyond the conventional capital market products of equities and bonds as well as manual regulatory processes, the players and regulators in the Nigerian capital market are introducing new and innovative processes and products.
“Some of our processes that were previously manual and inefficient are being automated,” she said.
Uduk said that the implementation of the 10-year capital market Master plan was already contributing to the growth and development of the Nigerian capital market, and by extension, the economy.
She described the theme of the Conference, “Leveraging the Capital Market for Economic Growth and Development” as apt and timely, given the pressing needs to grow the nation’s economy and achieve sustainable development.
According to her, the capital market can serve as a key catalyst for Nigeria’s economic growth and development, as it offers a credible platform for obtaining long- term financing.
“As we all know, long-term and affordable funds are required for businesses to thrive and in turn contribute to employment, growth and development.
“Beyond capital market’s contribution to economic growth, we aim at the larger goal of economic development,” she said.
Uduk said that capital markets across the world had products and mechanisms to stimulate economic growth and development.
She said that many of such products were available in Nigeria, but there were aspects that were still untapped, thereby limiting the realisation of the nation’s potentials.
“One major initiative to tap this potential was the development of a ten-year Capital Market Master Plan (CMMP), launched by the Commission in 2014.
“The plan has over 100 initiatives to springboard the Nigerian capital market as one of the world’s deepest and most liquid, as well as the largest in Africa by 2025.
“It is also aimed at ensuring that the market contributes much more to the socio-economic development of the nation, particularly in facilitating capital-raising for sustainable development and transformation of key sectors,” Uduk said.
She said that the commission recognised that a lot of work needed to be done for the Nigerian capital market despite successes recorded from this initiative.
In his remarks, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu said that the state government was interested in the growth and development of the capital market.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by Dr Shamsudeen Allison, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Special Adviser on Education, said the event was strategic in promoting business and development in the state.
He said that government would continue to promote local businesses and ensure the provision of an enabling environment for businesses in the state.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics & Research) Unilag, Prof Oluwole Familoni said the conference was a good forum to discuss and proffer solutions to some of the problems being faced by the investing public.
Familoni said it was an avenue for Nigerians to learn more about the rudiments of the capital market.
He expressed the hope that at the end of the conference, the capital market would be better positioned for the development of the economy.
Mrs Toyin Sanni, Group Chief Executive Officer, Emerging Africa Capital Group, said that lack of financial literacy makes one to make poor financial decisions.
Speaking on the topic ‘Financial Literacy, Digital Finance, Inclusion and the Democratisation of Wealth in Africa’, Sanni noted that financial literacy was paramount for growth and development of any country.
She attributed illegal wealth acquisition and hoarding eminent in the country to ignorance of proper financial planning.
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