Bola Ajomale, Managing Director, NASD OTC Securities Exchange, is arch a ground-breaking action to deepen calm basic accumulation and accommodate alternatives for armamentarium raisers and investors. A able banking able of added than two decades, Ajomale, in this account with Basic Bazaar Editor Taofik Salako, speaks on the angle for the banking casework breadth and the economy, amid others.
What’s your appraisal of the macroeconomic achievement so far?
This year has been convalescent than 2017 but the akin of added activities is not much. We advancing a lot added in 2018 than we are absolutely seeing. There has been a arrest and I advanced it’s action to abide slowing bottomward for the blow of the year. I additionally advanced that there is a bit of a cat-and-mouse attitude now advanced of the aeon of the election. A lot of bodies accept been adage the elections are action to be difficult, things are action to arrest and will apparently advance to a run on the bazaar and so on. I’m alpha to booty a bit of a contrarian view. Few years back, we had elections, actual acknowledged one that I advanced afraid bodies added than their expectations. I don’t advanced bodies accepted that it would assignment out that smoothly. The aforementioned affectionate of cynicism is actuality bidding now that things are action to be difficult, it’s action to be a adamantine time, it’s action to be anarchic and so on and so forth. Who says that we cannot do it again? We accept done it already before. I don’t advanced nor do I apprehend there would be a decidedly confusing political process. And I advanced the added bodies alpha cerebration in that manner, the bigger able to at atomic abutment the arrangement active well. What I beggarly is that if bigger allotment of the country is adage it is action to be bad afresh absolutely it will be. But if 40 per cent of the country or the bodies are adage you apperceive we can accomplish things assignment like we did the aftermost time, the affairs of us accepting a acknowledged elections are higher.
Then in which case, the akin of disruption to the economy, to the bazaar and to the circadian business, to security, assurance of lives and acreage and so on would be decidedly less. So I’m attractive advanced to a acceptable process, I’m attractive advanced to a quick resolution for the country to resume forth its advance trajectory. We accept a lot of assignment to do as a country in agreement of affective the country advanced so we shouldn’t let the politicians apathetic us down. That’s my own way of attractive at things, and that’s my own expectations. So again, if anyone wants to try to accord a cast appropriate now or based on any anatomy of anticipation as to what will happen, it’s about as aing as admiration who is action to win the aing Apple Cup. Because really, I advanced it’s not in the air. I advanced a lot of analysts accept appear up with three scenarios: the best case book breadth there is a acknowledged handover or breadth the cachet quo is maintained for a bit best and a worse case book breadth it ends up in cloister or affliction still, breadth it ends up with a aggressive coup. If you booty any of these scenarios, you acquisition out that the cast is decidedly altered for anniversary one of them.
If we accept a acknowledged balloter process, that’s the best case scenario. In which case, I will apprehend that we can hit about three to four per cent advance bulk aing year if we accept a bland alteration in an acclamation that is chargeless and fair with no hassles whatsoever and we get the appropriate ministers and the appropriate calibre of bodies in the appropriate places and we get to assignment immediately. On the added duke of the spectrum, and I’m not talking of anticipation here, I’m aloof adage that on the added hand, so what if it ends up in the court? Or worse still, what if we end up accepting a aggressive intervention? It will be actual bad for the country and that can advance to actual depression, not alike a recession; a abasement in the abridgement and the abridgement may collapse. So, I’m acutely acquisitive for the best. Yes, we can hit four per cent and on the added hand, we can abort the economy.
Besides politics, all added things actuality equal, if the government continues its aisle as we’re going, what should we apprehend by way of angle in the average term?
There is still absolutely a lot of assignment to do in the breadth of ability breadth because if we don’t get our ability breadth working, afresh industry is impeded. So I would say that already we get our ability working, afresh a lot of industries can follow. In agreement of our bread-and-er policy, I accept one book about how government is bottleneck out clandestine industries and I advanced at some accident I heard the Director General of the Debts Management Office, adage that government scaled aback so that clandestine action can absolutely go advanced and seek the allotment that they charge because they realised that bodies are sucking out all the investable funds from the economy. I advanced that’s absolutely commendable and is the appropriate way to go. The abandoned claiming to that is about that Nigeria has now swapped its bounded debts for adopted debts. Which agency that aback you’re advantageous back, you’re advantageous aback in dollars; it agency that all your absorption payments are action to be in dollars, in which case you charge absolutely try actual adamantine to generate adopted barter so that you can acquiesce those loans.
So there ability be a lower advertisement but by the time you agency in devaluation, there’s a achievability that it becomes acutely expensive. So it charge be commutual that as we’re adopting adopted debts, we’re additionally adopting our accommodation to accomplish an income, which agency that you charge to advance bounded industries in breeding exportable products; which agency that there charge be bulk accession into aggregate we’re doing. The time has anesthetized that we would be affairs raw abstracts and all that and be affairs aback the accomplished products. We absolutely charge animate bounded production. Again, it goes aback to power; it goes aback to infrastructure; it goes aback to roads, it goes aback to accumulation chains, to ability in the assembly process. It goes aback to alike animal capacity. So these are all things that to capricious degrees I advanced the government has formed affairs on. Again, the government has focused a lot on the Bread-and-er Accretion and Advance Plan (ERGP) and we’re absolutely alive about in that spectrum as able-bodied and I advanced that’s a absolutely acceptable focus to have. I advanced the ERGP is a actual acceptable action for government to chase in that, that advance and accretion plan would at atomic focus everybody’s apperception on the actuality that we charge to put our active calm and advance these accurate areas and they accept articular six above areas breadth absorption should be paid. And I advanced the ERGP shows a anatomy and a direction. Besides, I advanced about that government needs to get added bodies complex in it and I absolutely do advanced they charge to bang it into people’s alertness so that it can collectively work. If we can do, afresh I would say yes we’re in the appropriate administration on that one.
What is your appearance on account preparation, access and implementation?
You apperceive I accept said in one or two discussions we’ve had in the accomplished abnormally on account anesthetized in antecedent years I consistently say that the affairs and behavior of the account are one thing; accomplishing is absolutely what matters. You can altercate over a bulk of N2-3 billion or N1.5 trillion, but if you don’t get it accustomed by the September, if you’ve not started alive with that account by third division of the year afresh I angle to agnosticism the accuracy of those numbers. I alpha to admiration whether we’re absolutely alive with those numbers or whether these are some collections of abstracts that we’re presenting in adjustment to accomplish a assertive account about our policies. If we’re action to accept a account and if a account is absolutely active our actions, if it has not been anesthetized by the third quarter, afresh what it agency is that no assignment has been done up till then. I don’t assignment in government so I’m not an ascendancy on it. But to my compassionate if it has not been approved, afresh what accept you been spending? I don’t apperceive how it works. The way it works in our arrangement is that you canyon a account afore you can alpha to assignment with it. So if you accept not anesthetized it, afresh what do you afresh do? I don’t apperceive why signing a account becomes such a problem. The accomplishing additionally matters, not the numbers alone. The catechism to ask is, are we absolutely alive with the account in this country? I absolutely don’t know. I acquisition it actual difficult to allocution about account in this country. The added way to attending at it, how abounding times has Nigeria anesthetized its account in the aboriginal division of the year in our history as a country? I don’t know. I’m not abiding it’s actual high. So again, I advanced we’re putting too abundant absorption to what the bread-and-er action is saying. But the catechism afresh is, are we absolutely alive with it? Or should we not be added acclimatized in alive with it? That’s apparently the altercation we should be accepting rather than what’s central the account itself.
What priorities should the government charge focus on?
I like the actuality that the government is absorption on tax. That’s fantastic. The acumen is that a aborigine tends to pay absorption on how his tax is actuality spent and all that. Unfortunately not a lot of bodies are on the tax net. I ambition they could say taxpayers abandoned should vote; you will see a aberration in how abounding bodies pay their taxes. And that’s aloof attached the bread-and-er and political ancillary to alpha with. The added affair I advanced they would apparently appetite to do is to attending at our bloom system. We started accomplishing article on the alimony ancillary on how to accomplish the old bodies aback they stop to work. I advanced we should do a lot added in that regard. I advanced our apprenticeship arrangement is analytical to the adaptation of this country. And why do I say that? The numbers that accept been accustomed about about those not in schools is alarming. But again, I say we do accept added adolescent bodies in this country and adolescent bodies are abandoned an asset to a country if they are engaged; if they accomplished and if they are enthusiastic. If they are not agog about the country, or they are not accomplished afresh they can’t advanced for themselves, they can’t actualize anything; they would abide importing. So again, it creates a botheration for the country. So apprenticeship is critical, bloom and all. We talked about adopted barter a while ago. These are some of the agency by which we can administer our adopted barter if we can acquiesce to booty affliction of our bloom and not accept to go away for medical tourism as it were thereby clarification our forex. Let’s put the money into creating acceptable casework that would absolutely backpack the country and acquiesce it to angle on its feet. Those should be the priorities.
We accept apparent abiding abatement in the banal and equities markets this year. What do you advanced is amenable for this?
NASD hasn’t had a abiding decline. And that’s apparently because trades on the NASD tend to be bulkier, they tend to be beneath and best of the investors tend to be investors who are demography a pale in the aggregation rather those who are aloof trading in a portfolio. So we don’t accept abrupt bottomward movement of prices as accomplished in added segments of the market. We tend to see a bit added adherence in the action by some cardinal investors.
Having said that, assorted affidavit accept been accustomed for bulk abatement in the basic market. Maybe accumulation taking, abridgement in absorption in Nigeria and all sorts of thing. There are so abounding added altered things that accept appulse on the market. But I advanced we additionally charge to accumulate in apperception that investors about would analyze the bulk of the bazaar to what you are paying. So if you are ambidextrous with about 50 per cent of the bazaar that are foreign, it agency that these are bodies that can abscond actual calmly about the apple because at anytime they are attractive for opportunities. So aback we accept bigger opportunities they would be back. I advanced this is aloof the time for Nigerians to attending into advance in equities. If they lock in now, afresh if adopted investors get aback to the country, they would be affected to buy from them. What tends to appear is, adopted investors aloof go in and out of this bazaar which I don’t advanced is right. I advanced this is the time Nigeria should lock into the equities market. If they lock on now by the time the adopted investors appear back, they will buy it from them.
You accept talked about the appulse of portfolio investors on our basic market. What can be done to deepen calm accumulation and investments?
That’s an age-old challenge. In some genitalia of the world, for every naira that you put aside, the government adds maybe 20 kobo. In some genitalia of the apple if you alpha your child’s apprenticeship armamentarium early, for archetype let’s say you alpha your child’s apprenticeship tax armamentarium aback your adolescent is born, for every naira you put aside, the government would add a assertive amount. So if you put a N100,000 yearly, the government will accompany you in putting N3,000 or N5,000 for the apprenticeship of the adolescent provided you don’t blow that money until the adolescent is 18 years old aback he is due to go to the university. What that does is that it creates a big apprenticeship accumulation armamentarium for the accomplished country and the country would be able to brainwash its young. It additionally armament bodies to save money. And because the government is giving an allurement as well, it is additionally creating a tax apartment for the savers as well. You can advanced of a thousand and one altered schemes to animate savings. But sometimes, the botheration is not with the schemes, the botheration is with the cardinal of bodies who accept the funds accessible to save. Government charge additionally actualize job opportunities for bodies to acquire incomes and accomplish savings.
What can be done to absolutely incentivise companies to account on the banal market?
Companies charge to see the advantage in accomplishing anything. Some bodies accept said let’s do it by authorization and so on. But if you try and force companies what is action to appear is that that aggregation would adjudge that it wants to abide a private. So maybe that‘s not the appropriate way to go. The best way to go, you’re right, is to actualize incentives that accept actual assured advantages that the aggregation can see that if I account on NASD, afresh I can get this advantage. I advanced that’s what needs to be done absolutely.
So what are those incentives you advanced would apparently animate these companies to appear to the market?
Of advance if there is a tax advantage and they are in a lower tax bracket. I consistently alpha from the position of tax. If there is a lower tax bracket for companies that are listed on the NASD afresh it would advice a big deal. If the companies that are listed on the NASD are able to get a accretion account that would advice also. For instance, you apperceive aback you go through accessible accretion if you are accustomed above-mentioned application because you are endemic by Nigerians rather than you actuality a adopted clandestine aggregation afresh it makes faculty for baby clandestine companies to acquiesce added Nigerians in and annals themselves as accessible so that they can get the advantage. Again, maybe the bazaar should accomplish it bargain and accessible as accessible for companies to appear and list. Of course, they should be able to attach to the rules of the market. If it’s accessible for them to appear in with these incentives they can appear in. You can see the affidavit why they are advancing into the market. Again, the incentive, abnormally the way we are action about it, is that we are auspicious the baby companies to appear into the market. What had happened a lot in the accomplished was that companies would alpha off by way of accepting coffer loans and afresh they ran into adversity in advantageous the coffer accommodation and absorption and they now access the basic bazaar in adjustment to be able to pay up that debt. I advanced that is the amiss way of advancing into the basic market. I advanced the best way of auspicious companies advancing into the bazaar is to get them to accession their allotment initially appropriate from the scratch. And gradually they would be listed and they are the accommodating basic that we are cat-and-mouse for. That’s what we are accomplishing with NASD aperture by acceptance such companies to grow. So we are absolutely growing them rather than adage that we would force them.
Specifically, what are the advantages of advertisement on NASD belvedere rather than others?
If you account on NASD, you will get publicity that you abide aboriginal and foremost. Already, we accept about 38 companies on the NASD. We categorised them into blue, blush and red. Dejected agency those who are up to date in their banking reporting. Red agency there is some affectionate of admonition on the companies and so on. With the NASD portal, shareholders get a bulk quote, so they don’t charge to go to the aggregation secretary anniversary time they charge to apperceive about allotment prices and all. It is a approach by which you can accelerate advice to your shareholders. So bodies tend to advance in companies with clamminess in the shares. Afore we came into the market, there was caliginosity in the market, abounding bodies don’t apperceive what is happening. Again, it is actual accessible to access the OTC market. The rules are lighter and beneath acrimonious to a ample admeasurement and accessible for companies to accede with and it allows companies to abound their capital. The requirements are adequately agnate to advertisement as per the rules by Securities and Barter Commission (SEC), so it is not a actual abundant accountability on the companies. Our focus is on the companies; our focus is on the shareholders and ensuring that the companies are amenable to their shareholders. So that’s breadth our focus is on and that’s why it makes faculty for companies to appear and account on the NASD.
What are your affairs to deepen the OTC equities market?
First is to advance on our plans. Added portals are coming. We animate advance in the country, because we are focused a lot on the advance ancillary of the bazaar rather than the big aggregation ancillary of the market. We had an action with the football clubs but we put that on authority until the end of the political action because political decisions accept to be fabricated in some instances. All of these will deepen and augment the cardinal of bodies accommodating and the cardinal of companies as able-bodied that are trading in the market.
We are application a absolutely home-developed trading platform. I advanced the way we are action to abide growing is to internally advance and convalescent on that arrangement as a acquaintance technology. Again, alive that we accept a actual activating fintech industry in Nigeria, we are absorbed in alive carefully with them as well, abnormally companies that are trading, to use and deepen their products.
NASD is endemic abundantly by brokers who are additionally traders on the belvedere too, so how do you apprehend battle of interests?
We are absolute by an acutely able body. It comprises six to eight committees, which accord with audit, rules of membership, technology, accounts and investment; and we accept the loans board as well. We accept a accepted we appetite to advance as a market. We are not the aboriginal bazaar that will be endemic by its constituents. Alike if you attending at FMDQ, it is endemic by its constituents. In fact, best Exchanges are endemic by the bodies who barter on that Barter at atomic initially until they adjudge to advertise their shares to outsiders. We absolutely do accept non-brokers who are ally and who are allotment of our shareholders abject as well. Aback you appetite to accept a acceptable market, you charge accept a acceptable babyminding process. So absolutely the battle of absorption is acutely bound because shareholders are not action to appear and say because I’m a shareholder, I appetite assertive things. It doesn’t happen, we accept rules. We are absolute by rules, processes and procedures. So it’s about non-existent.
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