To reflate the Nigerian economy after the Coronavirus Disease crisis, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has canvassed the mobilisation of local savings.
Speaking during the inauguration of the National Savings Strategy Working Group in Abuja at the weekend, Ahmed urged members of the group to develop easy and safe instruments that would attract ordinary Nigerians.
The group’s terms of reference include: to study the National Savings Strategy Paper and advise the Federal Government on the feasibility of the proposals or with recommended changes; and to advise on mobilising and channelling corporate and individual savings to accelerate domestic capital formation to support entrepreneurs and enterprise development in the urgent task of diversifying the economy and the deepening of the capital market.
The group is also expected to draft a national working paper outlining a detailed roadmap on the implementation of the National Savings Scheme to be submitted for approval by the Federal Executive Council.
“Let us not forget the average Nigerian that wants to save and does not have huge sum. We need to develop easy instruments that are safe to be able to attract them. Look at creating retail savings scheme to allow these Nigerians to save quickly by being able to enter and exit without unnecessary rigours.
“We need to mobilise local savings to reflate the economy, increase productivity by creating new enterprises and ensure that existing ones also thrive,” she said.
Ahmed commended the Acting Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ms. Mary Uduk, her team and the members of the Capital Market Master Plan Implementation Council for their dedication and commitment to the implementation of the Nigerian Capital Market Masterplan so far.
She expressed optimism that ongoing efforts to review the masterplan to align the assumptions and projections with current realities would re-define the road map for stakeholder participation in the Nigerian capital market.
Her words, “My expectation, when the review is concluded, is that we would have a strategic document that provides a clear pathway that would enable Nigeria’s capital market achieve the goal to be Africa’s deepest, most liquid and largest capital market contributing not only to Nigeria’s socio-economic development but also serving as a global financial hub offering opportunities to other parts of Africa.”
Uduk remarked that SEC launched a 10-year Capital Market Masterplan in 2015 – a market-wide strategic blueprint with the buy-in of all stakeholders to make the market deeper, vibrant and more effective.
She said the implementation of the initiatives in the 10-year plan would transform the Nigerian market, facilitate the diversification of the economy, encourage savings and create wealth.
“This will, no doubt, grow investors’ confidence, improve the depth and breadth of the market in terms of product offerings, engender market integrity and contribute to the country’s economic growth.
“I am glad to report that we have taken up the initiatives outlined in the document in a systematic manner while engaging with the government and other critical stakeholders to successfully implement key initiatives in driving the execution of others,” she added.
The acting DG disclosed that the need to establish a National Savings Strategy was outlined in the Masterplan as one of the key strategies to enhance capital formation by mobilising domestic funds for investment to drive rapid economic growth.
It envisaged the deliberate provision of risk capital as venture capital and private equity that are naira-based and more committed to the long-term prosperity of Nigeria, as well as create a buffer to the instability created by foreign investors, she noted.
According to chairman of the working group, Mr. FolaAdeola,savings is one of the fundamentals of highly developed economies.
He pledged the group’s readiness to help drive the economy.
“This assignment is coming at the most difficult time, as people are worried about the effect of COVID-19 on the economy.But if we get it right now, by the time we ease into good times, we will be better for it,” he added.