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Nigeria: Work on Financial Bailout Plan

(Oct. 9, 2008) It was reported on October 7, 2008, that officials of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission were meeting to develop a plan to inject private funds into the stock market to bail out the bourse's meltdown. The Federal Government had introduced recovery measures in August 2008 to attempt to stop falling share prices, without success. The Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the NSE, Professor Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, indicated that the Central Bank of Nigeria and market operators, including banks, would also be involved in the plan. She commented that because the Nigerian government is not able to adopt a bailout measure similar to that of the U.S. government and recently abandoned a plan to establish a stabilization fund to enhance market liquidity, the country's market regulators decided to use an internal mechanism to rescue the market. Another factor in the regulators' decision to create an internal bail-out plan, she noted, is the small proportion of Nigerians who invest in the stock market relative to the population as a whole.

After two months of a bull market, the NSE began to depreciate in early March, reaching a historic high on the NSE All-Share Index on March 5, 2008, with a market capitalization of N12.6 trillion (about US$107 billion), then dropping by 31 percent as of October 6, with capitalization falling by N2.9 trillion. (Chika Amanze-Nwachuku, Goddy Egene, & Eromosele Abiodun, Nigeria: Private Sector to Bail Out Stock Market, THIS DAY (Lagos), Oct. 7, 2008, available at