Nigeria must avoid banking crisis, say ex-bank chief, financial experts
Federal Government will need to reconsider its economic policies for better business environment for banks, financial experts say. Speaking at the launch of Dynamics of the Nigerian Financial System in honour of the outgoing Managing Director of United Bank for Africa UBA, Philips Oduoza yesterday, in Lagos, the experts, who include a former Managing Director of Diamond Bank, Emeka Onwuka, said the Nigerian banking system was facing serious headwinds from negative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, depleting foreign exchange reserves and regulatory pressures.
Onwuka maintained that Nigeria could not afford a banking crisis given the “current GDP growth situation. We welcome the recent managed floating of the rate of the Naira and various reforms undertaken by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).”
Onwuka said the CBN should consider lifting the forex ban on the 41 items currently excluded from the official market, as the items could be funded from other autonomous sources outside of the CBN.
“This will encourage entry of foreign investors as capital is a coward and stays on the sideline when there are doubts on its exit from any territory,” he added.Onwuka however, advised, “it may be necessary to place a one-year minimum tenor on repatriation of all Certificate Capital Importation (CCI) transactions to discourage entry of hot money.
The former bank chief said the current backlog of payments due to downstream oil and gas companies and these receivables, which were funded by banks, had become history in the books of many banks and was further compounded by the recent devaluation, which impaired the capacity of customers to pay outstanding trade obligations.
Onwuka said the cashless policy of the banking industry had gone a long way in driving improvements in payment system.Editor of the book, Prof. Mike Ogbeide, said the book is meant to provide information to the large number of illiterates in the Nigerian financial system. “This book is valuable to students and teachers and all,” he maintained.
Book reviewer, Prof. Awolabi Kuye, said the book is a metaphor for excellence and recommended to students and all those interested in the financial growth of Nigeria.
Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh, said the book has the power to turn the Nigerian economy around.
In his remarks, Former Chairman of UBA, Tony Elumelu commended the celebrant for helping in building the industry, saying, “He is a man of tropical domain who loves and encourages progress. The success of UBA would be attributed to Philip.”
Chairman of the occasion, Emmanuel Ijewere, said the celebrant is a rare gem in the banking industry that can never be compromised. “Phillip is an authority in the industry, a special brand dedicated to excel,” he said. Wife of the celebrant, Jumai Oduoza described Philips as repository of body of knowledge.