•Ariwoola: Collaboration key to navigating challenges posed by modern banking, digital services
James Emejo in Abuja
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, yesterday said an efficient, fair and just judicial system remained critical to strengthening confidence in the economy and bolstering the apex bank’s efforts to attract domestic and foreign direct investments into the country.
Speaking at the opening of the 2023 CBN Capacity Building Workshop on Banking and Financial Services Sector for Judicial Officers in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute (NJI) in Abuja, he said investors are more willing to invest in jurisdictions where the rule of law takes prominence in shaping business and investment decisions.
Emefiele said the judiciary helps to ensure that all parties adhere to legal and ethical standards, and individuals and businesses can seek relief through the law courts on violations of agreements.
This is as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola said collaboration between the judiciary, financial regulators, and industry stakeholders remained of utmost importance “if we must successfully navigate the challenges posed by modern banking and digital services”.
Emefiele said, “They can also be sure that disputes will be treated swiftly and fairly in accordance with the prevailing laws. The presence of a fair and just legal system will help in attracting much-needed foreign investments.
“Such investments will help to reduce pressure on our foreign reserves, enhance monetary and price stability, and reduce exchange rate volatility.”
Emefiele said the workshops are designed to help in updating the legal community on emerging trends in the financial services industry, with a view to enhancing their knowledge on how to build legal frameworks that will contribute to the growth of the financial services industry, and at the same time dealing with some of the emerging risks associated with these innovations.
He stressed that the judiciary invariably contributes to the effectiveness of monetary policy, financial system stability, economic growth, and development through their interpretation of statutes and sometimes giving effect to the acts of the government and its agencies, where such statutes and acts relate to monetary policy, financial system stability, growth, and development.
He said the judges’ workshop, of which the CBN has had the honour and privilege of being a part for several years, was commendable as it ensures that the learned justices remain abreast of current trends in the banking and financial services sectors and important developments on economic matters.
He also commended the institute for its consistency in organising the workshop and for ensuring that its themes and sub-themes are carefully selected to cover issues of critical economic and commercial importance.
He said as customary, that the theme of this year’s workshop was centered around the banking and financial services sectors while the sub-themes are expected to examine issues such as the mandate and operations of the CBN; the CBN’s banking relationship with the federal government and commercial banks; malpractices in Nigeria’s foreign exchange market; the Payments System Vision 2025 as well the Bank Verification Number Framework and its impact on electronic fraud.
Emefiele, while wishing all participants a thought-provoking, intellectually stimulating, and successful session, he appealed that the issues that would come up for discussion should be deliberated and examined dispassionately in the best interest of the economy.
Speaking at the occasion, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, commended the CBN governor and the Administrator of the National Judicial Institute, Justice Salisu Garba Abdullahi, for their unwavering efforts dedication, and proactive initiatives in organising the workshop.
The CJN said the event was apt, especially at a time when the country is witnessing rapid technological advancements, particularly within the financial sector, where conventional practices are swiftly being displaced by digital products and services that offer unparalleled convenience and efficiency.
He said in light of recent development, it has become expedient to have a comprehensive understanding of the regulatory framework put in place by the central bank and juxtapose it with other relevant laws and regulations establishing the legal frameworks governing digital products and services, particularly the Cybercrime Act 2015; the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), and the BOFIA Act, 2007.
According to the CJN, “The utilisation of blockchain technology in the financial sector presents a range of legal complexities. While blockchain has the potential to revolutionize record-keeping, enhance transparency, and streamline transactions, it also gives rise to intricate questions concerning data privacy, intellectual property rights, and the enforcement of smart contracts.
“As judicial officers, you must remain informed about these technological advancements and equip yourselves with the necessary knowledge and expertise to effectively address these legal challenges.
“Additionally, the emergence of digital payment services brings forth the paramount concerns of cybersecurity and the protection of sensitive financial information. Given the escalating frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks, it is crucial to establish a robust legal framework that safeguards the integrity of digital transactions and safeguards individuals against financial fraud.
“As judicial officers, you play a critical role in adjudicating disputes stemming from such breaches and ensuring that justice is duly served.”