Plans to boost fiscal buffers crystallized on Tuesday as the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed has said the Federal Government was willing to set up a National Savings Committee that will make recommendations to the government on the best ways to mobilise savings that would lead to economic growth.
Ahmed stated this when she held a meeting with members of the Capital Market Master Plan Implementation Council, CAMMIC, in Abuja.
According to her, there was need for Nigerians to imbibe the culture of savings so as to be able to participate actively in the capital market as a means of growing the economy.
“We need to grow domestic investments that will be here to stay, not just people that are shopping around for where to make profit alone. It is true that the current financial system is still tiled largely toward the banks. There is a need to look at all the players and help solve the problems. We are open to setting up the working group so we can have a review, extract recommendations and get to work. Those that can be done immediately we will try to do them and the long term ones we can then plan to do them as we move along”
Ahmed said the government is concerned about the volatility of the capital market and is ready to work with CAMMIC to ensure that the market is stable.
According to her “We know we need foreign investors in our market, but most importantly we need to grow our domestic investors that are here to stay. The foreign investors come in and when anything happens, they quickly take their money and go away but our domestic investors will always be here with us.
“We are open to setting up the working group so we can have a review, extract recommendations and get to work. Those that can be done immediately we will try to do them and the long term ones we can then plan to do them as we move along
“We have worked assiduously to diversify away from our over dependence on oil and gas and the first sector the president is interested in is in the Agricultural sector. We know that we have not yet addressed the whole value chain and this can be driven if we have a very active commodities exchange market because our goods will be of high standards as required by industries in Nigeria and outside the country.”
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of CAMMIC, Mr. Olutola Mobolurin expressed the need for Government to pay more attention to the capital market being the Centre of the economy as regulation of the market is paramount because the industry relies on confidence of investors
Mobolurin therefore canvassed for the setting up of a National Savings Committee to drive the process of fund mobilization among Nigerians and work on a robust savings initiative that can drive the growth of the economy.
He listed some of the achievements of the council to include dematerialization, recapitalization, e-dividend mandate, financial literacy, National Savings Strategy, Streamlined Bond Issuance Progress, Access to alternative investments and Tax incentive programmes.
Other achievements are enhancing commodities trading ecosystem, enhancing market liquidity and facilitate the establishment of a credit enhancement facility.
For the year 2019, Mobolurin disclosed that CAMMIC will embark on a review of the Master Plan, conduct an impact assessment of programmes and initiatives like e-dividend, dematerialization, Direct Cash Settlement among others, expansion of commodities through registered exchanges as well as the introduction of derivatives and related instruments.
In her remarks, Acting Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk said the Commission and the market are working to make the capital market attractive to pension funds to boost liquidity.