The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CBN) has called on the Senate to urgently pass the Financial System Strategy (FSS 2020) Bills into law to promote financial inclusion and strengthen electronic payment system in the country.
The CIBN President/Chairman of Council, Prof. Segun Ajibola, made the demand during a visit by the CIBN team to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.
The CIBN boss explained that the quick passage of Nigeria International Financial Centre Bill, Financial Consumer Protection Bill, and the Electronic Transactions Bill are critical to the implementation of FSS 2020.
He praised the level of work done by the Senate, including the passage of the collateral securities into law, passage of 15 other major economic Bills passed to law, review of about 50 existing extant laws and exemplary leadership skills shown by the Senate President.
He thanked Saraki for his exemplary leadership in getting the eighth Assembly to pass legislation that has positively impacted on the financial sector. This, Ajibola said, has in no small measure enhanced the recovery and resilience of Nigeria’s economy.
He also praised the legislation establishing the Collateral Registry Bill that has provided an enhanced environment for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to access credit.
He also disclosed that the CIBN will be approaching the NASS to amend its extant law, The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria Act No. 5 of 2007 in order to further strengthen its capacity to deliver on its statutory mandate.
He said the Body of Bank’s Chief Executive Officers, a committee of the Governing Council of the CIBN on March 27, 2018 unveiled the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities (SANEF) in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, deposit money banks, licensed mobile money operators and super agents.
The Institute, he added, has also worked closely with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in carrying out a national survey on the possible adoption of crypto currency (particularly Bitcoin) as a legal medium of exchange in the country.
The CIBN plays a prominent role as the Chair of the Global Banking Education Standards Board (GBEStB) and a member of the Education Standards Committee. The GBEStB is a voluntary, industry-led initiative which aims to develop clear, internationally agreed standards for the education of Professional Bankers.
Ajibola said the CIBN played a prominent role in the establishment of the Global Banking Education Standards Board (GBEStB).”The Board chaired by Nigeria has released her first Standard – The Ethics Education and Training for Professional Bankers. This will help the banks and bankers better deliver on their roles in line with global practice. The support of the NASS would be required to ensure legislative backing to ensure compliance by all concerned,” he said.
Continuing, he said there is a need for deeper understanding of NASS in the role of the banking sector as drivers of the economy.
Also speaking, Director-General of Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms. Patience Oniha, informed the Senate President that she has presented a letter addressed to the Senate President on the Bills.
She explained that in December 2017, the CBN along with other financial sector regulatory institutions held a Strategy Review after 10 years of implementation of FSS2020 initiatives and transformation plans. The review realised that there were critical legislation that would have created an optimal legislative environment for implementation of the initiatives and transformation plans.
“Realizing the need to push for the enactment of the remaining critical and key Bills the CBN and other financial sector regulatory institutions appointed a High Level Legal Working Group under the chairmanship of the D-G DMO to engage the National Assembly to facilitate quick passage of these critical and key legislation that will also provide a solid foundation for deepening the recovery and sustainable growth of Nigeria’s economy,” she said.
Oniha emphasized that the financial system, for instance, in the area of electronic payment system, has made tremendous progress that needs to be consolidated by enacting the Payment Systems Management Bill that will consolidate the progress that has been made and provide a legal premise for strengthening the payment system.
In his response, Dr. Saraki said the Senate under his leadership has passed several Bills that are geared towards strengthening the financial sector for the overall growth of the economy.
He said demographics that highlight more than 70 per cent of the population is in the youth bracket which is an asset to the nation if properly utilized so that it does not become a liability. “The only option is to create enabling environment for the youth to exploit their entrepreneurial talent especially as the public sector does not have the jobs that could provide gainful employment for the youth,” he said.
He assured that the Senate will continue to work on legislation that will optimise the economic opportunity for Nigerians. He therefore called for improved level of engagement with the Senate in boosting Financial Technology (FinTech) as an area of innovation and exponential growth in the financial sector with high potential for providing jobs for the youth as well as development of a document that will provide a road map for legislative work and deepen the enabling environment for MSMEs access to credit.
The Senate President also said there was need to deepen financial inclusion to reach the unbanked population in hard to reach areas of the country.
He noted the importance of the FSS2020 Bills and observed that FSS2020 must be brought to the front burner in view of its strategic work that is important to the financial system and economic growth of Nigeria.
The Senate President also indicated that in respect of the pending Bills there will be need to set up a small joint technical committee that will prioritize the Bills for quick passage. “The Chairman of the Committee on Banking will be on hand to facilitate a working collaboration on the critical Bills with the delegation, particularly FSS2020 High Level Legal Working Group and the FSS2020 Secretariat,” he said.
He commended CIBN for the work they are doing especially towards the development of the Nigerian banking industry adding that the Institute has a key role to play in the future of the country especially in the area of the economy.
He assured Prof. Ajibola that the CIBN amendment bill will receive their support and attention and wishes the incoming President Dr. Uche Olowu a successful tenure.