Presidency, Senate move to restructure banking sector
The Presidency and the Senate have mapped out strategies to restructure the banking and financial services sector with a view to providing a friendly environment for investments to thrive.
Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who spoke at a public hearing organized by the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions in Abuja yesterday, urged the upper legislative chamber to provide a legal framework that would facilitate credit information sharing between credit bureaus and lenders.
Osinbajo, who was represented by Dr. Jumoke Wole, noted that repositioning credit facilities through legislation will facilitate credit information sharing between the credit bureaus and lenders such as banks and financial institutions. He added that this would lead to increase in the availability of credit at reduced cost.
He noted that to achieve the drive for a favourable business environment in which investments would thrive in the country, a Presidential and Business Environment Council was established by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 to help develop a favourable business environment in the country by removing the constraints and restrictions to business and for the development of the economy.
The council, he said, is chaired by the office of the Vice President and consists of 10 ministers, the Head of Service and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and asked the Senate to send representation to the council.
Speaking, the chamber’s president, Abubakar Bukola Saraki said the 8th Senate has made the review of laws affecting the business environment the main plank of its legislative focus. “This is in order to give the private sector a boost as the main driver of economic development,” he remarked.
He said the Senate has passed three bills to improve the business climate, which include: The Legal Framework for Credit Bureau Services Bill 2017 (SB 205); The National Payment System Bill, 2017 (SB 005) and The Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, CAP F34 LFN, 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (SB181).
Saraki explained that the purpose of the bills was to open up the country’s economic space to attract greater private sector investment, especially those that enable small and medium businesses to thrive and create more jobs for Nigerians in a friendly climate.
He said: “The Legal Framework for Credit Bureau Services Bill, 2017, seeks to promote the use of credit information, access to finance, knowledge of credit bureaus to improve the lending environment in Nigeria.”
The National Payment System Bill, 2016, he added, was another important bill that the Senate has identified as a critical framework necessary to help modernize the Nigerian financial services market.
The chairman of the committee, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, assured that inputs from stakeholders in the banking and other financial institutions would help the Senate to made laws that would lift the country out of its present economic downturn.