By Nume Ekeghe
The implementation of effective fiscal and monetary policy measures is critical towards addressing the unexpected impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the financial system.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Umaru Ibrahim stated this in a speech delivered on his behalf by the Director, Insurance Surveillance Department (ISD), NDIC, Mr. Galadima Gana, at a webinar titled “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Banking System with a Special Focus on Non-Interest Financial Institutions’ (NIFIs),” that was organised by the NDIC in collaboration with the Islamic Financial Service Board (IFSB).
He described the webinar as a crucial platform for stakeholders and regulators in the industry to examine and analyse the issues affecting operations in the non-interest banking sector that have been impacted by the pandemic with a view to proffering effective solutions and interventions to ensure stability of the financial system.
Gana explained that the aim of the Webinar was to bring critical stakeholders in the non-interest banking sector to, among other issues, evaluate the Central Bank of Nigeria’s interventions in the sector in terms of enhancing financial inclusion, gain insights into consumer behaviour in light of the recent Sukuk Issuance as well as highlight global interventions such as the Islamic Development Bank’s Social Welfare Sukuk.
The Secretary General of the IFSB, Dr. Bello Lawal Danbatta, disclosed that since its establishment in 2003, the IFSB has remained committed to the implementation of prudent regulations to promote financial system stability for Non Interest Financial Institutions (NIFIs).
He said in light of the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the financial system, it is critical for industry operators to strictly monitor their credit, market and operation risks for operational resilience as well as come up with a coordinated policy response for both domestic and international financial institutions.
Presentations were delivered by Managing Directors and Heads of Units of various NIFIs in Nigeria including Taj Bank Plc, SunTrust Bank Plc, Tijara Microfinance Bank, Jaiz Bank Plc and Sterling Bank Plc.
Members of the academia from across the country including those from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and University of Lagos also served as panellists during the webinar.
Participants tabled their concerns and recommendations in a communique issued at the end of the Webinar. Highlights of the recommendations included the need for regulators, especially the CBN to address the liquidity challenges faced by the NIFIs on investible instruments particularly short-term investible windows; the adoption of Social Financing in collaboration with religious bodies that have the mandate to collect zakat (Islamic obligatory charity) and protect Waqf (Islamic charitable endowment) that could be channeled towards projects targeted at poverty alleviation; the extension of Sukuk to include the corporate private sector and the use of its proceeds in developmental initiatives such as healthcare; and the establishment of non-interest microfinance banks to target the financially excluded and underserved segments of the population in line with the financial inclusion drive of the federal government.