Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presided over a virtual meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) where the council composed of all state governors, FCT minister, Central Bank governor and federal government officials, endorsed a memo on the Finance Bill for 2022.
In a statement issued by the media aide of the vice president, Laolu Akande, he said the bill was presented to the council by the minister of finance, budget, and national planning, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, who explained that the proposed bill is intended to be passed alongside next year’s budget.
According to the minister, some of the proposed legislative changes cover domestic revenue mobilisation, closing tax loopholes, public financial management and tax administration reforms as well as international taxation issues.
She said some of the principles of the proposed Finance Bill 2022 are to ensure fiscal equity, avoid double taxation, and support businesses especially MSMEs.
Members of the council endorsed the bill subject to a few observations to be made.
Also, Osinbajo said with more room to redefine the exchange for international competitiveness and the largest concentration of young people in the primary market, Nigeria is in a better position to advance its capital markets locally and globally.
He expressed the view in his keynote speech in Abuja at the first Capital Market Conference of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group.
While speaking on the NGX Conference with the theme: “The Future Ready Capital Market: Innovating for Nigeria’s Sustainable Recovery,” the vice president stated that, “every smart investor must be looking now at how to be a part of the miracle of the Nigerian Unicorns, the about five or six indigenous Nigerian companies (driven by young Nigerians) that became billion-dollar enterprises since 2015 in the midst of two recessions.”
The vice president, who emphasised the digital transformation of the markets, highlighted the many opportunities this move would provide for the capital markets, which includes bringing in more young investors.
He advised the adoption of technology “to bring in a new crop of young investors, many of whom use their smartphones primarily for engaging with commerce and banking activities today. And you have commendably begun the journey to the digital transformation of the market, following the highly successful example of the banks and, of course, the telcos.”
The VP added, “Today, the huge retail outlets already created by the telcos with well over a hundred million subscribers, the wide reach of banks, especially with the numerous financial inclusion initiatives, make this probably the most auspicious moment for digitizing the capital market to bring in the millions of new young retail investors.”
The VP also noted the efforts of the NGX Technology Board to attract tech companies he referred to as the present and future tech unicorns to the market as a viable option for raising capital.
Osinbajo stated that technology will also give “more investors the opportunity to benefit from the phenomenal growth of these companies.”
However, he observed that “we must work gingerly to ensure that where policy may be involved, we enhance and not encumber the ability of these companies to raise capital quickly and efficiently. This, of course, will call for mirroring successful global best practices.”
Osinbajo, who noted that this was probably the most exciting time in the history of capital markets in Nigeria, added that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) also offered exciting new prospects for cross-border listings, activity, and the formation of long-term capital.
“Your brand campaign, ‘the Stock of which Africa is made of’ which was well commended by Mr President is not only imaginative but bold and focused. I think the importance now is that the NGX must work with government AfCFTA negotiators, especially as the process progresses to setting the rules in the service sector,” he submitted.
While urging the NGX to see itself as a critical player in the AfCFTA negotiations, the VP added that “we are at a point where we are looking at negotiating Service Rules, we have looked at Rules of Origin already, so this is the time to come into play to get the best deals possible from all our partners all across Africa.”
He stated that with the successful completion of its demutualization process, “which fully commercialises the functions of the exchange as a corporate entity and importantly, separates the regulatory function to prevent conflicts of interest, the NGX can now focus on its core function of exploring new opportunities, leveraging strategic partnerships and transacting business to deliver profit.”