Buhari Praises Regulators for Stabilizing Financial System | The Guardian Nigeria News

• Union Bank chairman pushes for smart rural banks
Global economic headwinds caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could have destabilized Nigeria’s financial sector if sector regulators had not been resourceful, President Muhammadu Buhari said.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja at the 15th Annual Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Banking and Finance Conference, Buhari particularly praised Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC ), Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), National Insurance Commission) and other key stakeholders for their diligent work that has ensured the stability of the financial system in the country.

The President, represented by Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Ms. Zainab Ahmed, assured the entire banking and finance community that the government will continue to support the industry in all appropriate ways to ensure that the sector continues to grow Services continue to provide mandates and at the same time create value innovations for its customers.

Noting that Nigerians desperately need a Nigeria of the future that uses its strengths, capabilities and cultural diversity to address the challenges plaguing its people, from climate change to pandemics to insecurity, Buhari said: “The government will continue to formulate and implement policies aimed at promoting self-sufficiency in critical areas such as energy, agriculture, health and technology.”

Buhari further noted that his government has supported the repositioning of Nigeria’s economy in an evolving glocal (global and local) context through various initiatives over the past seven years.

Mentioning such initiatives to include government support for Nigeria’s creative industries and domestic small and medium-sized enterprises and the agricultural sector, which have enhanced the ability of domestic companies to compete with their counterparts from other countries, he reiterated current efforts continued and on other branches of the economy are expanded.

Union Bank Chairman Farouk Gumel, who delivered the keynote speech, called for banks to have a greater physical presence in rural areas, saying: “There has been a lot of talk about closing branches in rural areas and being more efficient. But I think what is needed at this point is the re-branching of banks into smaller entities like rural branches that aim to meet the banking needs of rural residents. We no longer need large branches, but smaller and smarter branches whose aim will be to offer banking services tailored to the needs of the rural population, who are mainly farmers.”

Gumel stressed that great strides have been made over the past six years to bring banking to rural areas.

“Over the last few decades, conversations have focused on food, agriculture, farmers and the fintech sub-sector. I think there was a lot of awareness and that led to a lot of interest and investment. People always talk about revolution, but I think it’s more evolution. It’s difficult to change people’s attitudes overnight. Changing behavior takes time and a lot of effort. So expectations need to be managed as we gradually work towards where we want to be.”

For his part, Ken Opara, President/Chairman of the Institute’s Council, explained that innovation breeds new ways of doing things that are changing the landscape of the financial services industry more than ever.

He added: “Due to the dynamics, the financial services sector will have to adapt to this change much faster. Services, products and technological developments that were new and useful yesterday are no longer needed today. It is a fact that the financial services sector has changed more in recent years than at any time in history.”

He noted that as the world continues to evolve, the financial services industry needs to explore innovation and reconfigure its business to thrive in the future.

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