Diamond Bank PLC, a leading retail bank in Nigeria, has called for the listing of companies within the Micro, Small and Medium scale Enterprise (MSME) subsector on the Nigerian Stock Exchange so as to boost their capital base. This call was made at the gong ringing ceremony which signified the end of the day’s trading activities at the Nigerian Stock Exchange recently.
Speaking at the event, Chairman of Bank’s Board of Directors, Dr. Chris Ogbechie noted that Diamond Bank has distinguished itself as a bank strongly committed to the growth of MSMEs and has made significant investments in building capacity in the sector as well as giving them access to markets.
He said: “From our deep experience in the MSME sector, we realize that this is a very vibrant segment of the economy which can contribute up to as much as sixty percent of the national GDP if properly harnessed. Diamond Bank has made huge investments in building capacity within the sector through training, seminars, enterprise development initiates and increased access to funding.
Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, Mr. Uzoma Dozie, said that listing MSMEs on the Exchange will boost the viability of the market which currently has two hundred companies registered on it.
Noting that this number may be insufficient given the size of the Nigerian economy, Dozie said: “At Diamond Bank we do not see investing in the MSME subsector as merely Corporate Social Responsibility because we recognise the huge impact the sector can have on the national economy if well-managed. We have begun encouraging small and medium scale businesses to get registered on the exchange during our various engagements with them.
“For us, getting listed on the Exchange is not only about access to finance but also about enshrining a culture of fiscal discipline and corporate governance among MSMEs as these are qualities we hold dear in Diamond Bank. We believe that when MSMEs shift from a mindset of ‘self’ to one of ‘collective wealth’, they will streamline their operations to reflect more transparency.”
Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Oscar Onyema, noted that the capital market is open to MSMEs and has launched several initiatives to attract them though the response has been slow.
According to him: “One of the main reasons MSMEs shy away from the Exchange is the culture whereby people do not want to be listed as second-tier companies. The Nigerian Stock Exchange is one of the most sophisticated markets in the world and in other international markets companies are categorised according to tiers so every player can have optimal visibility within its own level.”
“In deference to our culture here, we are restructuring the Exchange to create a level playing field for everyone so companies will be categorised by a growth board primarily based on the performance of their stock. The Exchange is very transparent in her dealings and the trading platform is accessible from any part of the world as long as you have a smartphone and internet access. We have also instituted a new line of business for market data going back to the last fifteen years,” he added.
Diamond Bank is a leading retail bank in Nigeria and has gained wide recognition for its initiatives aimed at improving capacity and access to financing for Micro, Medium and Small-scale Enterprises across the country through best practice business management and financial advisory.