The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, yesterday assured the capital market community that the National Assembly, NASS, is committed to the passage of new railway and other business bills before it soon.
He said that the passage of new railway bill is crucial as it will now empower the private sector to run railway transport system, unlike at the moment that it is run by the public sector.
Speaking after ringing the closing bell of the stock market on the Lagos floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Dogara said “We are waiting the report of the house committee on transport before passing the rail way bill. Already, a one day Public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Land Transportation and the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act repeal and re-enactment Bill 2015 held at the National Assembly Abuja, stakeholders have underscored the need to open up the railway subsector to allow private investors participation.”
He noted that the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act Amendment Bill 2015, a private member Bill, is one of the high priority bills of the National Assembly which members were determined to ensure its quick passage.
According to him, “There is no doubt that the rail system is one of the most important arterial systems of the country’s economy and therefore a major determinant of the success or otherwise of our economic reform package.”
Commenting on the activities of the capital market, he said that the law makers are committed to ensuring that the market is deepened and investors’ confidence is returned as quickly as possible.
“A lot of things are required to be put in place to return investors’ confidence. The regulators need to be at the top of their job. Sanctions must be imposed to operators who commit infractions so that investors would have confidence to participate in the market. Any person who abuse the market should be dealt with in accordance with the laws,“ he noted.
According to him “The National Assembly will ensure that bills relating to capital market and business as a whole are passed. We sincerely believe in developing our capital market to be the first in Africa. It is not good that we are number one in terms of Gross Domestic Products, GDP, and in the capital market, we are number three in Africa. There is a bill in the National Assembly that states that foreign companies that are successful in Nigeria should list some of its shares on the NSE. We would use our legislative tools to enforce some of these bills, because it will be in the interest of Nigerians to benefit from such companies rather than allowing them to repatriate all the profit made from the country. The telecommunications and oil and gas companies would be encouraged to list in our market”