January 24, 2018 / 7:07 PM / in 7 months

Nigerian lawmakers pass bill for exchange to become publicly listed

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria’s lower house of parliament passed a bill on Wednesday that will allow the stock exchange to become a publicly listed company that can issue shares to investors.

Oscar Onyema, chief executive of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), said last week he expected the bill to be signed into law this year.

The upper house of parliament passed the bill in December. The bill will now be sent to the president to sign into law.

The second-biggest exchange in sub-Saharan Africa after Johannesburg and a main entry point for investors in Africa, the Nigerian bourse last year got approval from its members, mostly stockbrokers and some institutional investors, to become a publicly listed company.

The exchange has around 200 listed companies and plans to launch exchange-traded derivatives securities this year. It has not said whether it would list via an initial public offering or raise new monies.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the continent’s most developed stock market, has been a listed company since 2006.

The equities market in Nigeria was the third best-performing market in the world in 2017 after the central bank liberalised the naira for foreign investors, a move which lured back funds that been pulled out at the peak of a currency crisis.

Stocks gained 42 percent last year and have continued to rally this year, rising 16 percent so far in January. They shed 0.96 percent on Wednesday, spooked by uncertainty over the central bank’s ability to form a quorum to set interest rates.

Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha

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