NSE CEO’s opening remarks at the Award ceremony of the 2017 NSE annual essay competition
NSE CEO’S OPENING REMARKS AT THE AWARD CEREMONY OF THE 2017 NSE ANNUAL ESSAY COMPETITION ON WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 29, 2017 AT THE CIVIC CENTRE, VI – LAGOS
BY OSCAR N. ONYEMA, OON
The President of Council, The Nigerian Stock Exchange
Our Keynote Speaker, Former Minister for Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili Captains of Industry
The Stockbroking Community Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), I warmly welcome you to the Award Ceremony of the 2017 NSE Essay Competition for Senior Secondary Schools in Nigeria. I would like to specially welcome and appreciate the students who are the real reason we are here today, as well as their teachers, schools and families for encouraging them to participate in the NSE Essay Competition.
Let me also express my sincere gratitude to our distinguished keynote speaker, a former Minister for Education of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, for accepting to deliver the keynote address and share some thoughts with the students, despite her busy schedule. The whole-hearted participation by all of us in today’s event shows our determination to catalyze national effort and co-operation in advancing financial literacy in Nigeria.
The importance of financial literacy, particularly in developing and emerging markets, has been highlighted by leading institutions such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), and the World Bank Group, because of the positive direct impact this can have on promoting livelihoods, economic growth, sound financial systems, and poverty reduction. Contemporary society requires everyone to understand the principles of money management and to develop personal financial management skills that will enable them manage their finances effectively to achieve financial freedom.
As the sustainable Exchange championing Africa’s growth, we are committed to advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), one of which is Quality Education for all by 2030 – SDG number 4. We are playing our part in building a financially savvy generation, by implementing and supporting a number of programmes that contribute to raising the level of financial literacy in Nigeria.
Notable among these programmes is the NSE Essay Competition which began in the year 2000. The competition is aimed at bridging the gap between classroom learning and practical knowledge required for long-term personal financial planning. It serves as an essential platform to get the perspectives of our young ones on key challenges relating to financial literacy and inclusion in Nigeria. The competition’s overall goal is to develop a culture of wealth creation amongst our youth towards “Building a Financially Savvy Generation”.
Since inception, the NSE Essay Competition has inspired over 60,000 young people in more than 7,000 schools across Nigeria to showcase what they have learnt about the financial market. Similarly, the cash reward and prizes continue to improve year on year. This year, the top three winners will share a total cash prize of about N2million in form of scholarship award and equity investments. We are also awarding computer systems and printers to the students and theirs schools worth another N2million.
Our other financial literacy initiatives include school excursions to the Exchange, X- Tours, NSE Adopt-A-School initiative, school outreach programmes, financial literacy workshops and of course platforms such as the Global Money Week.
We recently donated a school, Maisandari Alamderi Model Nursery and Primary School, to the Borno State Government as part of our commitment to the global drive of inclusive and equitable quality education for all. The school which is designed to help Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state, is made up of two blocks of classrooms for 330 pupils and an administrative block consisting of a staff room, sickbay, security office and restrooms.
Through these initiatives, we have been able to promote financial literacy among young Nigerians, by encouraging them to learn how good financial decisions can better their lives now and in the future and ultimately grow the economy.
Year on year, we have continually seen increase in the participation level of the NSE Essay Competition. It will interest you to note that we received over 10,000 essays, this year, representing 38% growth in the number of essays received compared with 2016. This increase in participation is a testament to the great effort of school leaders who continue to inspire our young future leaders. Our employees across our branch network working with our implementing agency, Mind the gap Nigeria, leveraged school assemblies to teach students about financial literacy whilst encouraging them to participate in the NSE Essay competition. They visited more than 300 schools across six geo-political zones and they imparted 25,000 students.
Let me at this juncture recognize and show appreciation to our sponsors for the 2017 NSE Essay Competition, Access Bank Plc, Zenith Bank and Prime Atlantic, for their contributions towards the success of this initiative.
I would also like to specially commend the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers and our internal team of assessors who donated their time and Intellect by participating in grading and assessing the essays. All the finalists sitting here have gone through stringent selection rounds based on a set of comprehensive assessment criteria.
Finally, I will like to thank the great team at NSE for always sparring time to participate in this programme in one form or the other, particularly our Corporate Communications Team led by Olumide Orojimi for always pushing the envelope.
Let me close with the words of Orison Marden: “there comes the opportunity to choose between honourable competence and tainted wealth. The young man who starts out to be poor and honourable holds in his hand one of the strongest elements of success.
Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen, Thank you all for your kind attention.