‘In country’s interest to have capital market’

Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU/FT FILE

The South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPSE) has an allocation of $320,000 in the 2022-2023 budget because it is in the interest of any country to have a capital market, says Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

He made the comment in response to a query from Opposition member Lenora Qereqeretabua during debate on the SPSE operating grant.

She had asked Mr Sayed-Khaiyum to explain why the substantive chairperson of the SPSE had not publicly signed off on the last year’s annual report.

Ms Qereqeretabua also said SPSE’s annual reports should be presented to Parliament, given the public funds allocated to them.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the SPSE was regulated by the Reserve Bank of Fiji and not government. He said the SPSE was owned by different private entities.

“This is a setup that we inherited from the previous government,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“BSP (Bank South Pacific) and various other organisations are actually shareholders in it.

“We provide the funding because, obviously, it is in the interest of Government to have capital markets. If the capital market does not exist, then we cannot have listed companies.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the $320,000 allocation could be broken down as follows — $108,000 for the electronic trading platform, $100,000 for investor awareness activities, $64,000 for training and development, $25,000 for listing campaign and product diversity, $10,000 for legal compliance expenses and $10,000 for technological progression.

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