The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Alh. Umaru Ibrahim, has said that financial institutions Directors are not exploring huge potentials in the North Eastern part of the country despite federal government of Nigeria intensive efforts to curb Boko Haram insurgency in the region.
Speaking at the Workshop, organized by the corporation for Business Editors and Finance Correspondents Associations of Nigeria (FICAN) in Kano, pointed out that the North Eastern part of the country is endowed with human and natural resources.
He said six governors of the North East must be sanitized on growing the financial sector of their region, stressing the need for governors’ collaborative effort with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on its credit schemes.
He called on the CBN to introduce different incentives required by Deposit Money Banks (DBMs), Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) and Microfinance Banks (MFBs) to reopen businesses in the affected Boko Haram local government areas.
In his words, “My feeling is that a lot of the banks CEOs are sitting in Lagos comfortably, hence, forgetting about the huge potentials in the North East. They (banks CEO) are ignorant and I think it is our responsibility to make sure that we awaken them to their responsibilities.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Mr. Rafiu Ibrahim, also called on the apex banking regulating body to introduce different incentives to aid reopen of banks branches in the North East.
He urged the CBN and Development Bank of Nigeria to lend to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector in the North East. He said “since CBN has granted development bank of Nigeria license and their target is SMEs, I wanted to suggest CBN’s directive to the development bank lending to SMEs sector of the region.”
He thus questioned the CBN decision participation of the telecommunication companies in the mobile banking. The Chairman House Committee on Insurance & Actuarial Matters, Honorable Olufemi Fakeye said, the shut downing of banking operations in the North East should be a concerned to the nation at large.
The noted that the house of assembly is considering a bill that will allow equal balance in the distribution of tertiary institutions in the North East specifically. According to him, Borno state has one federal institution. The education aspect in the North East has to be addressed.”
Director, Development Finance, CBN, Dr. M. Olaitan in its paper on ‘Rebuilding Financial Infrastructure in the North East’, said the apex bank is introducing mobile money banking in the region. He said, “the CBN is introducing mobile money so that banks will not have to build physical banking infrastructures.”
Olaitan who was represented by Alh Sanni Muhammed, said once peace is fully restored, commercial banking operation will be restored. he noted that access to CBN’s intervention scheme in the North East is very low, stating that some states in the North East are not participating in the agriculture credit scheme of the CBN.
He however urged government to create enabling environment for banks to reopen. While lamenting high lack of access to finance in the region, he noted that Yobe State has only one Microfinance Bank (MFB), with Taraba accounted for only four out of the 45 MFBs in the entire region.
Pointing out the interest in North Eastern region, he said: “the region is known for its huge commerce, with well endowed natural resources but needed security for life and property, power supply and huge infrastructure development.”