By Sam Eyoboka
PIONEER Director-General of the Nigeria Stock Exchange, NSE, Apostle Hayford Alile has restated his appeal to the Federal Government especially the National Assembly to compel all mega companies operating in the country to join the Nigeria Stock Market.
Speaking in an interview at his 74th birthday anniversary service at the St. Joseph Chosen Church of God, Osapa London in Lekki, Lagos, he said: “We need to put a lot of the mega companies that were introduced to this economy in the last 10 to 15 years on the stock market so that they can be subjected to accountability, transparency and so on.”
Making particular reference to the telecommunications and hydrocarbons industries, Alile who had been canvassing this over the years, questioned the rationale behind a big player like Shell being quoted in Amsterdam, London and New York stock markets and not quoted in the NSE.
“I have asked repeatedly why should Shell be quoted on Amsterdam Stock Market, London Stock Market and New York Stock Market and Shell Nigeria is not quoted on our stock market. The telecoms companies are said to have made a turn over of over N760 billion.
“The arrangement of who owns what, we don’t know. They should be on the Nigeria Stock Market so that other Nigerians can buy into them,” he maintained.
Alile also expressed displeasure about some unholy alliances in the oil industry, saying “the hydrocarbon, why a joint venture with the Nigerian government? There’s no need for it. They should put it on the stock market, through that vehicle, they can pass some of them to the hands of the indigenes and residents of those areas that are polluted.
“At the end of the year, because you are in joint venture with one company, you’ll have to sit down and it will calculate for you how much the Nigerian government will subscribe. If you don’t have that, they say use your oil, we will lend you. I pray that we appreciate these new changes, otherwise our children may not be in a position to respect us.”
Not wanting to be dragged into the controversy over missing $20 billion, the spiritual leader agreed that NNPC itself can be quoted in the market as a holding company.
“I don’t want to go into the details of the accountability expectations and statements that some money are missing. Those figures are very big. How did the money transfer from NNPC into their joint venture and so on? Somebody signed for them. The cheque books usually have little counterfoils and people wrote on it with which can be traced. I was very excited when the Minister of Finance said they would institute a forensic audit.
“We hope that they can look forward and learn from past experiences. We hope that out of that, public companies can get to the stock market.
“The way the stock market is being put together now, there’s improvement, lots of regulation is going on. We hope that the management of the stock market will be very diligent in ensuring that those regulations are strictly adhered to,” Alile noted.