By Peter Egwuatu
OPERATORS and analysts in the financial market have warned the Federal Government against discouraging foreign investment in the country following the continuous drop in Foreign Portfolio Investment, FPI, which fell to N24.41 billion in the month of September this year.
This warning is coming after the saga against MTN’s alleged illegal repatriation of money outside Nigeria without obtaining the regulatory mandate of a Certificate of Capital Importation (CCI).
Figures from the NSE shows that monthly foreign inflows outpaced outflows as foreign inflows decreased by 29.65 per cent from N34.70 billion in August to N24.41 billion in September 2016. Foreign outflows also decreased by 10.21 per cent from N21.36 billion to N19.18 billion within the same period.
It will be recalled that MTN and Airtel had indicated interest to list on the NSE once the economy improves and the Nigerian stock market remains attractive for both local and foreign investors.
The capital market operators who welcome the interest of the telecommunications companies to list on the exchange have warned the federal government not to do anything that will jeopardise or discourage the entities that will list on exchange come next year.
President of the Institute of Capital Market Registrars, Bayo Olugbemi: said: “ We need these companies on the exchange to boost our market. MTN is a big company and has invested significantly and makes huge returns to stakeholders. So government must do everything it can to encourage it to list in our country. We expect other telecoms players as well as major oil companies and the power sector to join the train.”
Meanwhile, speaking a Financial Management Consultant, Mr. Bisi Ogunwale, said the furour generated by the regulatory discrepancies between the MTN believed to have employed over half a million Nigerians and injected about 3.5 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) may portend a negative picture to willing investors in the Nigerian economy.
Ogunwale said the accusations against the telco were not solidified as the withdrawal by MTN didn’t appear to contravene the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council act and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s regulation.
He said the government should rather check the efficiency of the regulatory measures of the CBN and necessary parties to avoid repelling foreign direct investors (FDIs).
Ogunwale said: “Just when we thought we were getting out of undue interference from our government in the way businesses are run, the upper chamber of the national assembly on the 27th of September did this. First, the issue here for me is what exactly is the Senate out to achieve and why are they doing what they are doing?
I’ve looked at everything they brought forward and the issue that MTN did not get CCI before repatriating money. What funds are we talking about, MTN’s claims they were repatriating funds that were meant to be profit or dividends being paid on importation of capitals they have done. I don’t see anything wrong in what they have done. For me I think it is just a witch hunt.”