Financial experts seek more realistic budget

Some financial experts have called for a more realistic national budget that will fast-track infrastructural development in the country.

This was part of the resolutions reached at the end of the Securities and Exchange Commission yearly budget seminar.

The seminar which held in Lagos on Thursday, had as its theme ‘Leveraging the 2020 budget and Finance Act for the growth of the Nigerian capital market’

The stakeholders disapproved of the huge budget variance the company had witnessed over the years.

According to them, budget variances over the years have been large and this means efforts need to be made to have more realistic budgets.

Participants also recommended the provision of conducive business environment and credit enhancements for the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises to thrive.

According to a communique at the end of the seminar, there is need to create more hedging opportunities in the Nigerian capital market, as these have implications for market liquidity and efficiency.

The communique said, “The government needs to work towards encouraging the participation of the private sector in the Nigerian business environment.

“The power and agricultural sectors are key sectors where in-depth reform and partnership with the private sector are important. There should be partnership with the private sector to mobilise domestic resources, create quality jobs and lift people out of poverty.”

Participants agreed on the need to leverage technology for trade and focus on adding value to the agricultural sector which is currently very low-paying.

The sector, they posited, needed to become more beneficial to those involved and  this could be done through means such as provision of power for crop preservation, thus eliminating post-harvest losses.

In her opening address, the acting Director General of the SEC, Ms Mary Uduk, emphasised the importance of budgets  in an economy and by extension in the capital market.

Giving a breakdown of the activities of the organisation, Uduk said the commission’s enforcement efforts in 2019 yielded some positive results.

She said, “A breakdown is as follows: number of complaints received,167; number of complaints resolved,102; amount recovered for investors: N100,111,626.3; units of shares recovered for investors: 8,848 units of various companies.”

She gave the number of Illegal operator/Ponzi schemes sealed as four and the number of Illegal operators’ bank accounts cautioned/blocked by the SEC Police Unit as four.

The total amount in the blocked accounts stood at N1.12bn; value of real estate properties cautioned under investigation, N1,23bn while the number of capital market fraud cases being prosecuted stood at eight.

The SEC boss gave the total amount generated from penalties as N194.48m.

Uduk said, “In 2019, the commission witnessed an upsurge in the activities of Ponzi schemes in Nigeria. The commission went after many of the promoters and directors of such schemes, securing a conviction last year and many others are presently being prosecuted.

“We will continue to combat Ponzi schemes this year. We intend to continue leveraging on the Memoranda of Understanding that were signed between the commission and key stakeholders like the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to strengthen our ability to do this.”

Source: Punchng, February 14, 2020