The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has commended the reform initiatives of President Bola Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda, saying it will help grow the economy.
The President and Chairman of Council, CIBN, Ken Opara, expressed this at the 16th Annual Banking and Finance Conference organized by the Institute in Abuja.
The conference is the largest gathering of banking and finance professionals in Africa. It is a platform for stakeholders in the banking and finance ecosystem to come together to drive conversation on topical issues critical to the growth and stability of the finance industry, and the economic development of the country with a view to providing insightful solutions that will impact the entire system and the economy at large.
The theme of the Conference is “Nigeria’s Economic Growth and Empowerment: The Role of the Financial Services Industry”.
Opara expressed hope that the reforms if followed through would not only unlock the full potentials of our economy but place the nation on a recovery trajectory to drive the prosperity of the continent.
Representing President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Vice President, Senator Kassim Shettima in his goodwill address expressed his confidence in Nigeria’s Banking and Finance industry describing it as the springboard that will catalyse the realisation of the present administration’s economic agenda.
According to the Vice President, “The future is already here, and this industry is a springboard for the success of our reforms and programmes. Whether in incorporating blockchain technology or expanding financial inclusion to deliver dividends of democracy to banking and unbanked citizens, Nigeria is here to occupy the high-table in a fast-changing world.”
Continuing, the Vice-President, himself a former Banker said: ” I invite you as a friends and colleagues to join us in serving the nation. We have promised to reposition consumer finance, and that can’t be done without you. We have promised to incentivise and finance value-addition to our agricultural and other products, and you are our ally in this. We need you because Nigeria teeters on the edge of a precarious balance of payments as we import more than we export.”
According to the President, the theme of the conference is very apt as it resonates with the context of our current realities in the country at this time. “It amplifies the fact that agenda setting for the country must be a continuous exercise, especially now that we have a new government in place. The topic also resonates with the current administration’s reforms agenda.
He urged the CIBN to continue to be a vanguard for capacity and skills development in the financial services industry.
He also urged for more collaboration of critical stakeholders to drive the sector.
The Chairman, the Senate Committee on Capital Market, Sen. Osita Izunaso, in his comments, pledged the continued support of the National Assembly to the CIBN and the country’s financial sector. Izunaso, called for the collaboration of critical stakeholders in the sector to help resolve the challenges before us which according to him is enormous.
He also urged companies enjoying Nigerian patronage to ensure to are listed in the country’s capital market.
Also present at the conference, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Sen. Abubakar Bagudu decried the low contribution of the sector to the GDP and challenged the financial sector to make efforts to move from 3.6 to about nine per cent growth contribution to the GDP.
Bagudu said that achieving this was possible as the financial sector was indeed well-placed to contribute to economic growth.
The minister then reiterated the present administration’s commitment to ensure its renewed hope agenda for Nigerians was achieved. “The reforms are intended among others to give the private sector all the necessary confidence to mobilise and invest more resources in the economy. “We appreciate the contribution of the financial sector but expect more. “And we appreciate that the challenges we are experiencing are those that other countries have experienced and surpassed. By this, we are in no doubt that the vision and boldness of our leaders, the renewed Hope Agenda will be pursued with vigor and Nigeria will have positive remarkable growth in the years ahead,” he said.
The Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), Folashodun Shonubi, said when we look at our economic contribution, we are fighting below our weight. He urged the financial sector to find ways to contribute a lot more that the current 3.6% it is contributing to the economy. ‘’At this conference, we should sit down and find what the major drivers are, so that we can influence and actively engage the economy. “For us to contribute a lot of ourselves, we as bankers need to be more conscious, a bit more active on advocacies that are actionable,” Shonubi said.
Also, the Chairman, Body of Banks CEO, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, also urged for a deliberate effort by stakeholders towards growing the country’s economy.
On the balance of payment, he said we are importing more than we are exporting and to change the narrative, we need to grow what we consume and export what we consume. “We have enormous potential, the biggest potential we have is in our market. Our market is depleted by the number of people we have.
- “The time has come for our growth to focus on effectively realising the huge potential of our natural endowment. It is imperative therefore for us to encourage growth in our endeavours. Banks also have to be deliberate, determined to execute the mandate of growth in our economy,” Onyeagwu said.
As the first set of sessions came to a close, the Chairperson of the Conference Consultative Organizing Committee and MD/CEO, FSDH Merchant Bank extended her appreciation to all conference partners and sponsors; and charged them to march on with their commitment to progress, innovation, the advancement of the financial industry, and the economic good of our beloved Nigeria.
The gathering of foremost bankers will delve into critical conversations that will examine how we can harness our industry’s expertise to drive economic growth that is inclusive and sustainable. In her comments, she said ‘’We should explore how we can key into different areas with the power of capital to transform our nation’s economic landscape and uplift communities across Nigeria.
The success of our industry is inherently tied to the prosperity of the people we serve. It is our responsibility to ensure that the growth we drive is not just a numerical statistic but a force that uplifts lives empowers dreams, and fosters greater economic equity.
The conference has been planned to feature intellectually stimulating conversations from highly experienced conference speakers and resource professionals who have been carefully curated to help do justice to the theme and business sessions.
To set the tone for the Conference, the Keynote Speaker, is Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, Country Director, World Bank. Other confirmed Resource Persons at the Conference include Dr. Kingsley Obiora, Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Central Bank of Nigeria; Mrs. Razia Khan, Managing Director and Chief Economist, Africa & Middle East, Global Research; Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria; Professor (Mrs) Olayinka David-West, Associate Dean, Lagos Business School; Mrs. Ronke Kuye, Chief Executive Officer, Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities (SANEF) Limited; Professor Ken Ife, Member, Governing Council, Ministry of Finance Incorporated; Mrs. Damilola Akinbami, Chief Economist, Deloitte & Touche; Mr. Johnson Chukwu, Founder/CEO, Cowry Asset Management Limited; Mr. Olusegun Zaccheaus, Partner, Strategy& Practice PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC); Dr. Ozoemena Nnaji, Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Central Bank of Nigeria; Mr. Ayodeji Adelagun, Managing Director, Head, Financial Market Nigeria & Rates & Credit Trading West Africa, Standard Chartered Bank; Dr. Bunmi Bajomo, Head, Group Banking & Chief Operating Officer, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated; Mr. Kashifu Inuwa Abdulahi, Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); Dr. Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola, Chair, African Union Cybersecurity Expert Group; Mr. Tope Aladenusi, Partner & Leader, Cyber Risk Services & Chief Strategy Officer, Deloitte West Africa; Mrs. Adedoyin Odunfa, Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Digital Jewel Limited; and Dr. Adewale Peter Obadare, Co-founder and Chief Visionary Officer, Digital Encode Limited.
Other confirmed resources persons are Mr. Musa Jimoh Itopa, Director, Payment Systems Management Central Bank of Nigeria; Mr. Razaq Ahmed, Co-founder/CEO, CowryWise; Ms. Mayowa Kuyoro, Partner, Fintech and E-Payment, Mckinsey & Company; Mr. Frank Atat., Divisional Head, Payment & Solutions, First City Monument Bank Limited; Mrs. Nneka Oyeali-Ikpe, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc; Mr. Olawale Tunde Fasanya, Director General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agencies of Nigeria (SMEDAN); Mr. Yusuf Philip Yila, Director, Development Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria; Mr. Bonaventure Okhaimo, Chief Operating Officer, Development Bank of Nigeria; Mr. George Olutope Onafowokan, Managing Director/CEO, Coleman Wires & Cables; and Mr. Dotun Ifebogun, Divisional Head, Retail Bank, Wema Bank Plc.
Others are Mr. ‘Laoye Jaiyeola, Past President/Chairman of Council CIBN & CEO, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group; Mrs. Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, Managing Director/Chief Executive, Citibank Nigeria Limited; Dr. Bankole Allibay Consultant, Social Safeguards, World Bank Group; Ms. Tinuade Awe, Chief Executive Officer, NGX Regulation Limited; Dr. Ndidi Nnoli Edozien, Board Member, International Sustainability Standards Board IFRS Foundation; Mr. Olukorede Adenowo, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank, Nigeria; Mr. Opuiyo Oforiokuma, Senior Partner Africa50 Infrastructure Acceleration Fund; Ms. Helen Brume, Director, Project and Asset Based Finance, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank); Dr. Ola Brown, Founder, Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment/Director of Greentree Investment Company; Dr. Benson Uwheru, Chief Executive Officer, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company and Ms. Stella Marie-Omogbai, Executive Director, Corporate Banking, FSDH Merchant Bank.