The House-embattled Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Ms. Arunma Oteh, has paddled the ship through the rough waters and she is happy to see the brand under her watch recover from the ditch it plunged into a few years ago. She has however ascribed the recovery being witnessed in the capital market to the commission’s reforms and zero-tolerance for corrupt practices.
In an interview with BBC News, Oteh said the focus of the commission on her assumption of office in 2010 was restoration of market integrity encapsulated in the various reform programmes initiated by the commission to sanitize the market.
According to her, “The global financial crisis was really bad for Nigeria. We had our market declining from a peak of N12.6 trillion in March of 2008 to a bottom in February 2009 of N3.9 trillion. So, you can imagine what that meant; to every dollar we invested; we lost more than $76 per share. It was that horrible for Nigeria”.
On the strategy used in restoring stability to the capital market she said “The reforms we initiated were varied, but the most important thing was really to establish that we will not tolerate anything that is wrong in the Nigerian stock market from anybody, whether investing through a company or investing through the exchanges in Nigeria because nobody will ever accept to give another person money if he knows that he will be defrauded. So, that was first and foremost, the most important thing for us. What we call restoring integrity of the market.”
Recounting the improvement in the capital market Oteh said “Today, our market has more than doubled since January, 2010 when we started this reform programme. We are back at the level we were in 2008. We have a market capitalisation in our stock market that is over N12 trillion; we have both the domestic and foreign investors fully investing in the market on 50/50 basis.”