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Senate commits to investors’ protection as losses hit N370 billion

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With the ongoing volatility at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), following the global effects of coronavirus, the senate committee on capital market has assured investors that the committee is doing everything within its powers to protect their investment in the market.

The committee is the legislative arm of the government responsible for providing supervision over the Nigerian capital market and proffering strategic direction, where required, for the associated regulators, operators and financial market infrastructures.

Besides, the team also promised to revisit the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Investment and Securities Act (ISA) bills and unlock more funds from the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs).

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Speaking at the ‘Bell Ringing Ceremony ‘ of the NSE held in Lagos yesterday, the chairman of the committee, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, stated that the capital market has a role to play in rescuing the economy in the light of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which has hit global markets.

He said: “The capital market is a potent avenue of deepening our economy. We have always talked about diversification which is essential to growing the economy and that is why the capital market has to play a very significant role in that aspect.

According to him, constant engagement is needed to help drive the development of the capital market and the economy.He urged the management of the NSE to explore other sectors that will attract more participation in the market.

“You know that wealth needs to be created and so you need to get more people into the net and that is why the petroleum sector which is the mainstay of the economy is also competing with other sectors, thanks to efforts of diversification, Nigeria is gradually easing out of being a monolithic economy.

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“We will create the enabling environment and necessary laws needed for market growth. Our primary assignment is to market laws and we know the government will not hesitate in supporting capital market growth. Our markets are not doing badly when compared to other country’ s markets but there is need for improvement.”

The Chief Executive Officer of NSE, Oscar Onyema, said: “The total market capitalisation which includes equities, fixed income and exchange traded funds (ETFs), currently stands at N25 trillion, but on the equities side, we are at about N11 trillion. Just two or three weeks ago, we were close to N15 trillion but for the global rout and crashed oil prices, we have now lost about N3.2 trillion since the 9th of March.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian equities market wiped off previous day’s gain to close on a downturn yesterday, following price losses suffered by most blue-chip stocks, forcing investors to lose N370 billion.

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Specifically, the index depreciated by 711.06 absolute points, representing a dip of 3.12 per cent to close at 22,078.58 points. Similarly, the overall market capitalisation size declined by N370 billion to close at N11.506 trillion

The downturn was impacted by losses recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are; Nestle Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, Dangote Cement, Zenith Bank and Lafarge Africa.

Analysts at Afrinvest Limited expected the bearish trend to persist given the current global pandemic. However, we note that there are opportunities for bargain hunting.

Market breadth closed negative, with 13 gainers versus 22 losers. Africa Prudential recorded the highest price gain of 9.91 per cent, to close at N3.55, while Jaiz Bank followed with a gain 9.76 per cent to close at 45 kobo, per share.

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