Some analysts at the Nigerian capital market have said that revelations from the on-going probe of the nation’s bourse are a clear indication that transparency is still lacking in the market.
Consequently, they believe that investors’ confidence in the system, which is currently at the lowest, may continue to suffer huge set back. Last week, the House Committee on Capital Market probing the unlawful spending by the leadership of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the capital market regulator, was also accused of seeking bribes. The Committee leadership have since resigned.
“This sordid affair is a further revelation of the systemic rape of the investor in the Nigerian capital market environment. It shows that transparency is not even a word anybody considers in a market that is supposed to thrive on transparency,” Ope Banwo, the chief executive officer of Market Ombudsman, a public service watchdog, told Premium Times in an extensive interview.
“When we have such as a messy relationship between the legislative watchdog arm and the SEC where the legislative arm can ask for donation for its probe of SEC from the same Commission; and SEC also calls a board meeting to consider the request for donation to a body supposedly probing it, it becomes clear to the discerning that there is no transparency in the entire capital market.” Mr. Banwo said.
“This messy affair will further retard the rebound of our comatose capital market,” he said, adding that foreign investors are not likely to be excited to take capital market risks or “bet on a system they cannot trust and where the legislative arm we all expect to look out for us has suddenly found itself enmeshed in bribery scandal”.
He said in the short run, the development will further weaken the market since almost 80 per cent of new inflows into the market come from foreign sources.
Mr. Banwo however expressed hopes that something good emerge from the scandal.
“It may be a good thing since it will force the whole nation and the Executive Arm to look the evil of corruption in our capital market once more in the eye and hopefully make some long term reforms that will ultimately benefit everyone.”
Market analysts at Access Bank are also of the opinion that the current low investors’ appetite at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) might have resulted from the effect of the probe.
“The market seems to be reacting to the National Assembly probe into the activities of the SEC,” the analysts said in their recent Economic Business Review.
They added that higher yields in the fixed income market last week may have also prompted investors to pare their stock holdings in favour of bonds and Treasury bills.
While market operators have continued to predict that market performance may likely remain muted in the coming weeks due to the on-going probe, equities at the NSE witnessed mix performances this week.