Adeosun opens London Stock Exchange, says Nigeria has low debt-GDP ratio

Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance, on Friday opened the London Stock Exchange (LSEG) to celebrate the business ties between Nigeria and UK, while promoting the 3rd ‘London and Lagos Capital Markets in Partnership’ conference.

The minister, who was joined by Greg Hands, a member of the UK parliament and the UK minister of state for international trade, said Nigeria is good for business.

Adeosun, who explained how Nigeria intends to fund its budget deficit, said  Nigeria’s low-interest lending rate remains on course. She said the country has a headroom for borrowing, since it has a low debt-to-GDP ratio.

Speaking on Nigeria, Hands said: “I know from my own time in Nigeria that the UK and Nigeria have long enjoyed a close and prosperous business relationship.

“The UK is one of Nigeria’s largest investors and the government is committed to boosting trade between our two countries.

“We are actively helping British companies export to Nigeria and Nigerian businesses to locate and expand in the UK. I welcome this initiative as a further step to deepen the commercial links between our nations.”

Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, gave a keynote address discussing the Nigerian government’s green agenda.

The event, hosted in collaboration with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), was attended by senior Nigerian policymakers, including Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, Director -General, Nigerian Pension Commission; Oscar Onyema, Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE); and Roger Brown, CFO of Seplat Petroleum.

“Our collaboration with London Stock Exchange is deliberate and strategic,” Onyema said.

“It is geared at encouraging seamless cross-border access between our capital markets to ultimately drive deeper capital markets that enable capital formation for businesses and Governments.”

He added that the deal creates “larger liquidity pools and greater competitiveness for our investors; and enhance capacity and promote diversity of investment products to meet the needs of a wide range of investors and issuers”.

In November 2014, London Stock Exchange Group and NSE signed a capital markets agreement aimed at supporting African companies seeking dual listings in London and Lagos.

At 112, more African companies are listed in London than any other international exchange, and the companies have a combined market capitalisation in excess of $200 billion — the largest concentration of African quoted companies outside of Johannesburg.

Eight of those companies have their primary areas of business in Nigeria.