“I know that all of you here are great patriots in your own way; you could have disappeared and possibly worked in Dow Jones, or somewhere else, or may be Germany or somewhere and you are ever here and you have not checked out. It is a very good thing.”
These are the words of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo shortly before he rang the closing bell at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in Lagos.
Osinbajo, who commended the top Nigerian business men and women for the good work they have been doing everyday, made t clear that the private sector and government need to work hand in hand at this time to weather through what he called ‘the great challenges.’
“And always, everywhere in the world, the stock exchange very quickly recognizes where there is an economic challenge because you see it, all the indicators show very clearly that there are complications and there are problems.
“So, I want us to see ourselves as partners working together to ensure that we are able to take our nation up from where we are at the moment to a great and permanent prosperity.”
The Vice President, who also spoke to news men said that the government would continue to create an enabling environment for industry and for businesses to thrive.
“We are trying to work on infrastructure and we are also trying to work on tax incentive and all manner of incentives’ regime that will enable businesses to do better. You know what the immediate challenges are; foreign exchange, power in some cases and all of that.
But all of these are issues that we are working on day by day and my interaction today with the council has also helped a great deal in trying to understand some of the more immediate issues that we are trying to confront and I am trying to see how how we can deal with them.
“Essentially, we recognize that this is a partnership: Private sector and government. Government deals mainly as a regulator and partner in such a way and ensuring that the private sector does business and does it well and efficiently, because the private sector owns the economy. So for us, this is an important engagement and this where we are, that is why I’m here.”
Osinbajo stressed that the most important thing for the country is that there is engagement already on listing, adding that several major companies have already indicated that they want to be listed on the stock exchange.
He said that for the privatized companies, the government is fully ready to encourage listing in the stock exchange.
“It is the stock exchange that is the important driver of economic activity and an important driver of investment, so, for the federal government that is absolute necessity. I don’t think there is any need to wonder whether the federal government would be interested or would want to enable listing but we certainly want to encourage it. That is the reason why I’m here, to promote interest in the market, federal government sent me and I’m doing so.”
The President said that incentives will come from the exchange and that the government will encourage an incentive regime.
“We want to encourage business generally. Where there are opportunities, for example, when we think it should be entirely on the advice of the NSE council, when the council for example, or the market makers believe that there are things that can be done to make life easier in some way or there can be things to be done we are happy to listen to those things.
“As you know, the President just inaugurated an Ease of Doing Business Council. The whole idea is to look at the entire incentive regime, to look at the infrastructure, look at all of the different areas where we can encourage and enable the business environment.” [myad]