CJN Links Economic Stability to Speedy Resolution of Financial Disputes

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Justice Tanko Muhammad

•Failure to tackle cyber risks costly, says Emefiele

James Emejo in Abuja

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad yesterday said the speedy resolution of financial disputes remained critical for ensuring confidence in the financial system.

He said in Abuja at a national seminar on banking and allied matters for judges that this would further strengthen the confidence of investors that their investments are safe.
He also assured the nation that the judiciary will ensure that disputes are resolved in line with constitutional and statutory provisions.

The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) organised the seminar, which has the theme: “Destructive Technologies in Nigerian Financial System: The Legal Considerations.”
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who also spoke at the occasion, warned that the failure to effectively address cyber risks could destabilise the economy as it could result into system-wide crises.

The CJN, in his contribution, said: “As we all know, the speedy resolution of financial disputes is an economic development catalyst, as investors and other financial institutions will remain confident that their investments are safe.”

According to him, the banking sector all over the world is regulated by a set of laws, rules and regulations peculiar to each jurisdiction.
He added that depositors as well as other investors must be assured of the protection of their assets and investments in the event of bank distress.

The CJN said it was critical to ensure the continuous success of the collaborative effort in order to sustain public confidence in the judiciary.

He also expressed optimism that the seminar will proffer solutions to bottlenecks which cause encumbrances for banks, customers and regulators.

On his part, the CBN governor said by asserting competitive pressure on the financial institutions, digital finance posed a risk to the stability of the institutions and by extension the entire financial system.

He said there is the need for the judiciary and stakeholders to develop capacity by learning from the experience of how the legal systems of other advanced nations have adapted to disruptive technologies while also taking into consideration the peculiarities of the local environment.

Emefiele called for practical ideas that will be readily implemented to build a legal system that will support the financial system in playing its catalytic role towards fostering a vibrant and growing economy.

Represented by CBN Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Mr. Edward Adamu, Emefiele said the disruptive innovation seen in financial system had further raised significant legal consideration, which should be exhaustively discussed at the seminar.

He said there was the possibility that Fintechs may be involved in unwholesome practices, which will have direct bearing to consumer-related issues.

The apex bank boss said it was important to ensure that the environment is conducive for innovations to strive, adding that the risks this might pose remained a task that confronts policy makers and regulators.

Emefiele said digital finance could deliver enormous benefits not just for the payment system but also for the financial wellbeing of the citizens and the economy at large .
According to him, financial digitisation improves sufficiency and revolutionalises financial services as well as brings the financial system closer to the people so that they can benefit from credits to savings and other financial produce.

CIBN President, Mr. Uche Olowu, said the global emergence of technology and digital driven initiatives including cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence, block-chain and open banking, which are all aimed at customer incentivisation and efficiency have enlarged the scope of rendering financial services beyond the traditional model as well as creating opportunities for non-bank organisations to offer financial services with less or no regulations.