Emefiele Urges Banks to Support FG’s Economic Strategies

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By Ndubuisi Francis in  Abuja and Obinna Chima in Lagos

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele yesterday called on Nigerian banks to support government’s effort

aimed at returning the economy to normalcy.

The CBN governor made this call in his opening address at the 2016 Bankers’ Committee retreat in Lagos which commenced yesterday.

Emefiele said the role of returning the economy to normalcy had been placed on banks as their financial intermediation activities cut across all sectors.

He pointed out that beside the development finance objective of the central bank, there is the added role for the financial institutions in evolving innovative approach to the nation’s development agenda. 

The central bank governor also noted that at a critical time in the country’s history, the emphasis on diversification and support for its achievement must be accorded priority by bankers. 

At the retreat with the theme, “Economic Recovery: The Role of the Banking Sector,” the governor reiterated that banks must come up with innovative solutions that will enable the finance sector to play a key role in driving Nigeria’s growth and development. 

The retreat, which is the eighth in the series, is an annual event where members of the Bankers’ Committee engage in strategic reviews of critical developments within the financial system and the economy.

“The focus on economic recovery by bankers is timely, given the sustained external headwinds we are grappling with, triggered by several factors. Chief of such is the 70 per cent plus decline in the price of crude oil between June 2014 and June 2016. 

“With over 90 per cent of our export revenues coming from the sale of crude oil, the drop in its prices along with the end of quantitative easing programme in the United States has led to a huge impact on our economy, particularly in the foreign exchange market,” he said. 

On the same day, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode charged banks to take their roles in the quest to revive the economy seriously.

Represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Idiat Adebule, he called for a change of orientation and support for policy instruments that are aimed at achieving the overall goal of reviving the economy.

“We must innovate now, because there is no option to get out of the recession. 

We must get it right too. The banking sector has a major role to play because the survival of other sectors depends in part on sustainability and vibrancy of banks,” he said.

He also assured that the suggestions of the bankers will be given due consideration by government and its agencies, with a view to serve as a guide in policy formulation.