Chairman of the Bankers’ Committee, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
By Obinna Chim
The Bankers’ Committee Sunday said the decision earlier reached to suspend all charges accruing from the use of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) of other banks would be implemented from Monday, December 17.
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Chairman of the Bankers’ Committee, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, revealed this while addressing journalists at the end of the fourth annual Bankers’ Committee retreat held in Calabar. The three-day retreat was titled “Towards Economic Development and Sustainable Transformation”.
The committee had at its November meeting said the move was partly aimed at enhancing financial inclusion and encouraging ATM usage in line with CBN’s cashless programme.
Sanusi explained that the delay in implementing the policy was to allow banks configure their information technology infrastructure for the effective implementation of the policy.
“We have agreed on a final date of Monday, 17 December, 2012 for the kick-off when every bank will remove the charges. We allowed some time for banks that have not configured their IT to do so and stop charging and hopefully by 17th of December, you are not going to have any customer pay additional charges,” he said.
He also disclosed that the central bank was working on a programme that would ensure that from June 1, next year, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) commences the process of divesting from the three nationalised banks – Keystone Bank Limited, Enterprise Bank Limited and Mainstreet Bank Limited – which are wholly owned by the corporation.
“We want to start the process by June 1 next year of getting AMCON to divest from the three banks so that by 2014, the process would have been completed,” he said.
Commenting on the privatisation of power assets, the central bank governor said the committee would advise the Federal Government to ensure that the proceeds to be derived from the sale of power assets are invested in infrastructural projects, adding that this would enhance investor confidence in the system.
According to him, “With a vision for a better future for Nigerians, the Bankers’ Committee is committed to play a lead role as catalyst for economic development, improving access to finance for the unbanked and under-banked population and growth of the real sector.
“The Bankers’ Committee has focused on the power, agriculture and Transport Infrastructure sectors for driving growth and identified opportunities for financial system intervention in the transformation of these critical sectors of the economy.
“Through collaboration with the government, the banking community and real sector stakeholders, the Bankers’ Committee programmes and initiatives have contributed to a tangible improvement in the enabling environment and private sector funding for the power and agriculture sectors.”
Sanusi added that banking sector lending to the agriculture sector had increased significantly from 1.5 per cent of total industry portfolio to 3.5 per cent in 2012.
He also said that the banking industry has set a target of 7 per cent for agriculture sector lending by 2013 and 10 per cent by 2017.