The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has announced restriction of all movements in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja for an initial period of 14 days effective 11:00 pm on March 30, 2020, to stem the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria. Since the index case was reported on February 27, 2020, we now have 111 cases as today March 30, 2020. Earlier, the Lagos State Government imposed a seven-day ‘slow down’ of non-essential services in the State, effective Thursday, March 26, 2020.
The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE or The Exchange) is very supportive of these steps, which are 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 that are only comparable to the global financial crisis of 2007/2008. To maintain the integrity of our market and in order for us to continue to stimulate economic growth, we activated our business continuity plan on March 23, 2020. Through this activation, we have:
- Continued trading during normal hours and days by providing remote trading access for Dealing Member Firms through FIX Protocol and Virtual Private Network (VPN) platforms;
- Commenced remote working for our non-essential staff nationwide;
- Closed our trading floors nationwide;
- Maintained continuous flow of relevant market information to enable stakeholders to make informed investment decisions; and
- Engaged with Government to address market issues raised by COVID-19
The ability of our financial and money markets to continue to operate 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. 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.
To comply with Government directive, we have activated the second phase of our 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. Access to our offices will be 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.
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 practising 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.
Once again, we assure all our 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.
Together, we shall win this war against COVID-19.