By Itohan Abara-Laserian
The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) hosted the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, with a digital Closing Gong ceremony to mark the end of 2020 trading activities.
The event which took place on Thursday was anchored by the Divisional Head, Shared Services, NSE, Mr Bola Adeeko, in Lagos.
Speaking at the ceremony, Adeeko described 2020 as an eventful year for the Nigerian capital market, especially the NSE.
“The year 2020 has been an eventful year for the Nigerian capital market and specifically for us at the NSE.
“In spite of the economic impact of COVID-19, we have remained resilient in providing stakeholders a platform to raise capital and invest in the market.
“The market capitalisation of all securities listed on the Exchange increased to N38.5 trillion as of Dec. 31, from N25.89 trillion at the end of 2019.
“The market capitalisation of the equities market crossed the N21 trillion mark, while the NSE All-Share Index reached 40,270.72 with a year-to-date return of 50.03 per cent.
“We have also continued to provide a platform to support listed companies in meeting their strategic business objectives as demonstrated in the over N1 trillion raised by governments and corporates across various asset classes year-to-date,” he said.
Adeeko said that the Exchnage as a responsible corporate citizen would continue to support the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
“We devoted the sum of N100 million to the fight against COVID-19, with N60 million donated to the Capital Market Support Committee for COVID and the balance of N40 million devoted to the Masks for All Nigerians campaign.
“Against the backdrop of the resurging COVID-19 pandemic, we are pleased to host Ihekweazu to this Closing Gong ceremony to further amplify the efforts of the NCDC and to educate Nigerians on how we can all navigate this crisis.
“We thank Ihekweazu for his exemplary leadership and reiterate the support of the Exchange to promote collective action in this fight,” Adeeko said.
Responding, Ihekweazu said that the NCDC was extremely proud and grateful to the NSE for the honour.
“The NCDC is extremely proud and grateful to the NSE for inviting us to this event today.
“We have been faced by a common challenge which has facilitated a strong collaboration between the NCDC and the NSE, as well as the organised private sector.
“The NSE has been truly supportive of the measures put in place by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the NCDC, encouraging members of the capital market community to adhere to the necessary guidelines.
“As we work toward sounding the Closing Gong, we are reminded of the lives that have been lost to the pandemic and this should push us further in our responsibility in the new year.
“We would like to take this opportunity to remind Nigerians to wear facemasks, maintain physical distancing, avoid mass gatherings and wash their hands frequently even as we move closer to the finish line,” Ihekweazu said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NSE usually reserves the last trading day Closing Gong ceremony for distinguished individuals and organisations who have made significant impact in the society. (NAN)