Nepal | September 28, 2020

SEBON still undecided about reopening share market

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The Securities Board of Nepal (SEBON) is still undecided about when to reopen Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) — the country’s sole secondary market — which has been closed since the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of the COVID-19 contagion.

On Sunday, the board had formed a committee to conduct a study on when and how to reopen the stock market. The committee was given two days to submit a report but it failed to do so and the deadline has been extended till Friday. “The team was unable to submit a report due to some technical issues and will do so tomorrow,” said Bhishma Raj Dhungana, chairperson of SEBON.

“After the committee submits its report we will determine whether to reopen the market or continue halting the service,” he informed.

The committee comprised of representatives of SEBON, Nepse, investor groups, broker associations and CDSC.

Uttam Aryal, chairperson of Investors Association of Nepal, said due to the irresponsible behaviour of the regulatory board, investors are facing problems at the moment. “We have conducted a series of discussions to reopen the market and the committee of which I too am a member has almost finalised the report,” he informed, adding, “Our suggestion is to reopen the market now but some investor groups are lobbying to postpone the reopening of the market for at least another 15 days.”

We have suggested SEBON to reopen the market by implementing some precautionary measures to save the huge money that has been invested in the share market, Aryal said.

Meanwhile, SEBON Chairperson Dhungana said that the study team will also look into introducing a possible relief package for the secondary market.

Earlier, the board had directed Nepse to fully integrate its system with banks and financial institutions so that real-time transactions can be made.

Chandra Singh Saud, chief executive officer of Nepse, said they are ready to reopen the secondary market. “As soon as the board gives us a direction to that effect we will open the stock exchange,” he stated.

The government had imposed the nationwide lockdown from March 24 and extended it phasewise till June 14 to stop the spread of the coronavirus. However, it eased the lockdown partially from June 15 but the concerned stakeholders are unable to take a decision on when to open the secondary market.

Nepse has been closed since the lockdown began and opened only for a couple of days on May 12.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 25, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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