The management of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), on Monday, said it has made arrangement to ensure equities trading on its platform continues during the restriction of movements in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, announced for an initial 14-day period from 11:00 pm on Monday, March 30, 2020, announced by President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday night.
Trading on the NSE, according to a statement signed by Oscar Onyema, its chief executive, will continue during normal hours and days via remote trading access for dealing member firms through FIX Protocol and Virtual Private Network (VPN) platforms.
Remote equities trading during the 14-day period, which is part of efforts to stem the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country, Onyema noted, is to maintain market integrity, while stimulating economic growth.
Already, he said the exchange has commenced remote working for non-essential staff nationwide, following which its trading floors have been closed while maintaining the continuous flow of relevant market information to ensure stakeholders make informed investment decisions.
To comply with the government’s directive, he said the second phase of its business continuity plan “that will see our essential staff move into a secured accommodation close to our offices with adequate arrangements for healthcare and other matters necessary to their wellbeing.”
During the period also, he added that access to the NSE’s offices is “restricted to these essential staff who will ensure smooth remote trading and provide remote technical support to dealing members. We will also continue to provide remote access to listed companies and issuers during this period.”
He assured that engagements with the government are ongoing “to address market issues raised by COVID-19,” adding that the ability of the nation’s financial and money markets to continue operating during this crisis is a testament to a well-functioning economy.
“That is why the statement put out today by the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria that they have received presidential approval to include the Financial System and Money Markets in the list of exempted services from the lockdown of Lagos and Ogun States and the FCT is vital (READ MORE).
“Given this new pronouncement, we will sustain our remote trading activities at normal hours and days, in line with the guidance provided by the World Federation of Exchanges,” he added.
Since the index case was reported on February 27, 2020, Nigeria currently has 111 cases as of March 30, 2020, assuring that the NSE is very supportive of steps aimed at flattening the rising curve of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.
Since the outbreak of this pandemic, financial markets, particularly the capital markets around the world, have seen levels of volatility comparable only to the global financial crisis of 2007/2008.
“While we hope for a quick end to this pandemic, we encourage everyone to maintain precautions, take responsibility for others by observing social distancing and practicing personal hygiene. Most importantly, we advise that you comply with guidelines issued by relevant health agencies of government towards curtailing the spread of the virus in our beloved country,” he stressed.
Onyema assured “stakeholders that The Exchange is open for business remotely. Should you need to engage with us on any matter, please reach out to us via e-mail, X-Issuer, X-Boss, X-Whistle, telephone, our website or any of our other digital and social platforms.”