Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday signed a cooperation agreement with FSD Africa, a U.K. Aid funded non-profit company worth 450,000 pounds (N180.59 million).
Speaking at the signing in Lagos, Ms Mary Uduk, SEC Acting Director-General, said the funds would be used to strengthen the nation’s capital market.
Uduk said that the funds would be used to promote financial technology regulation, fund institutional capacity audit to identify strengths and areas of improvement in SEC’s operations among others.
She said that with the agreement, the commission became the first capital market regulator to participate in a flagship pan-African programme designed to strengthen the continent’s capital markets.
According to her, SEC Nigeria will provide 22,500 pounds out of the 450,000 pounds.
“SEC Nigeria is excited about the cooperation with FSD Africa and the tremendous potential the various programmes hold in complementing our efforts to enhance capacity and further strengthen our ability to regulate the capital market.”
“This collaboration will no doubt contribute to the continued development of our market by facilitating access to capital by both the private and public sectors and enhance the competitiveness of the Nigerian capital market as a global investment destination,” Uduk said.
She said that the three-year FSD Africa programme would provide funding to build the capacity of capital market regulators across the continent and provide world-class technical assistance.
She added that it would encourage closer collaboration among regulators and conducting research to support the development of new policies and regulations.
Ms Laure Beaufils, Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission, Lagos, said that capital markets had an essential role to play in economic development.
“Capital markets have an essential role to play to help unlock capital that can be invested in the real economy and that can contribute to job creation and inclusive growth. I am delighted that the SEC and FSD Africa have signed a new partnership agreement today. It is testament to the importance we attach to this issue and to our commitment to deepen and broaden our trade and investment relationship with Nigeria. I very much look forward to working with SEC on this in the future,” Beaufils said.
She said that her country’s bilateral trade with Nigeria as at December 2017, stood at 4.2 billion pounds, adding that the value would double by 2030.
Beaufils said that many investors in the U.K had identified interest to invest in the Nigerian market.
Mr Evans Osano, Director, Financial Markets, FSD Africa, said that the partnership would play a role in encouraging greater collaboration and knowledge management sharing with other African capital market regulators.
“As Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria represents a natural starting point for this new programme. Nigeria’s capital markets, though increasingly innovative, remains relatively small and underdeveloped,” Osano said.
He noted that the partnership would unlock capital by improving investor and issuer confidence, reducing transaction costs and reducing the complexity and approval times for capital issuance.
Osano said that in addition to Nigeria, the programme would be implemented in Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Mr Mark Napier, Director, FSD Africa, said that well-functioning capital markets would play vital role in support of inclusive economic growth by channeling long term finance into infrastructure.
Napier said that strengthening regulatory capacity in capital markets was an essential pre-condition for building investor confidence.