The Chief Executive Officer of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE” or “The Exchange”), Mr. Oscar N. Onyema OON, has further expressed NSE’s commitment to providing corporates and investors access to the market in meeting their financial and investment needs during this period and beyond. He made this known during the first-ever Digital Closing Gong ceremony hosted by The Exchange via Instagram Live on Thursday, 16 April 2020, in honour of the contributions of Sterling Bank Plc to the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Speaking to The Exchange’s efforts to sustain an open and vibrant capital market, Mr. Onyema said, “Following the activation of our Business Continuity Plan and our transition to remote working and trading, The Exchange has been resolute in its commitment to ensure that there are no disruptions to operations for any of our stakeholders. We have leveraged our existing digital assets to ensure there is continuous flow of information and activity in the market and are now looking at how we can deploy creative solutions to enhance our stakeholders’ experience during these unprecedented times.”
Mr. Onyema identified the sounding of the Closing Gong to mark the end of the trading day as a treasured tradition of The Exchange that has been impacted by the temporary closure of the trading floor and one which presents an opportunity for digital engagement. He went on to say, “It has been our pleasure to rekindle the tradition of sounding the Closing Gong albeit digitally with Sterling Bank Plc. It would be remiss of me not to thank the Mr. Abubakar Suleiman for joining us to achieve this milestone and commend him for the notable efforts Sterling Bank is making to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria and support the Nigerian economy at this time.”
In recognition of the valiant efforts of Nigerians to fight this pandemic, Mr. Onyema also thanked the government at federal and state levels, public and private sector players, health workers at the front lines and all the responsible citizens out there offering essential services and keeping our economy running at this time. He encouraged Nigerians to stay strong, stay home and continue to comply with the directives of the government and verified health organisations in keeping everyone safe.
On his part, Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank Plc, said “My appreciation goes to the NSE for leading the digital transformation of our market. These are interesting times we live in with the outbreak of Coronavirus changing the way we live and work. While we all come to terms with these new realities, I urge everyone to identify and leverage the opportunity we have been given to reset our nation and our businesses.”
Speaking to the bank’s efforts in providing succor to stakeholders at this time, Mr. Suleiman went on to say, “At Sterling, we are offering a range of solutions to help Nigerians manage through temporary or extended periods of reduced or lost income as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. We have reduced the restructuring fees on all new and existing loans by up to 50 percent; issued an extension of the repayment of loan obligations that are due; and suspended the penal charge for late minimum repayment on customer credit cards during this period; to name a few.”
These are certainly unprecedented times and organisations have to be more creative in demonstrating resilience in the face of crisis. Since the transition to remote trading, The Exchange has maintained its trading hours on normal trading days on the X-GEN platform; supported its Dealing Member Firms with remote trading access through FIX, VPN and X-NET; provided guidelines to stakeholders on performing regulatory functions virtually through X-Issuer and X-Boss portals; engaged in capacity building exercises through webinars; and even successfully listed new investment instruments.