Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has stated that illicit funds and other forms of ‘dirty’ monies majorly go through the banking system, just as he appealed to the financial institutions to be more transparent.
Osinbajo also urged bank officials to desist from accepting funds that are proceeds of money laundering.
The vice-president made the comments at the 22nd World Conference of Banking Institute yesterday in Lagos that is being hosted by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
The conference was for financial institution heads across the globe to discuss the future of banking and finance.
Osibanjo who was represented by the Senior Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Economic Affairs, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, urged banks to be more transparent, saying transparency would aid government in its fight against corruption.
Osinbajo said: “The reality is that the huge sums of money involved in illicit financial flows which is contributing to rising inequality often moves through the financial system. As issues of beneficial ownership and automatic exchange of ownership come to the fore, banks must prepare themselves to cope and operate profitably as the world moves towards an era of financial transparency.
“We expect that the banking and financial sector would support the national economic recovery and growth plan. As most people already know, we recently released our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and its objective is to achieve sustainable inclusive growth and achieve a growth of seven per cent per annum by 2020 by focusing on core areas of growth.
“We plan to restore growth in the economy and invest in our people while building a globally competitive economy. Our effort to restore growth bares much on the macro-economic conditions accordingly.”
According to the vice president, fiscal, monetary and trade policies would be aligned to stimulate the economy and support growth while preventing overheating. He also said sectoral policies were also being implemented in order to diversify the economy by boosting investments in agriculture, manufacturing, mining and services including construction of the digital economy.
Osinbajo said the government realised that success in this regard depends to a large extent on quality of the policy as well as the business environment.
He also spoke about efforts by government in improving the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ as well as to simplify the entry and exit documentation requirements for foreigners.
The vice-president added: “We took major steps to improve business environment especially as it pertains to the entry and exit of people and goods and to improve transparency in government processes and procedures. In addition to revitalising the economy, the Buhari administration came into office and promised to tackle security and corruption challenges. While it is a visible and tangible progress, we do realise that there must be a continuous coherent.
“The banking and finance sector has a key role to play in supporting our dream. The banking sector is critical to the implementation of our plan. The private sector is expected to play a major part especially through public private partnerships. The banking and the financial sector will be leading sources of private capital expected to complement government investment. We expect that the banking sector should support development financing by utilising the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) micro, small and medium scale enterprise development fund.”