The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele has tasked implementing Agencies collaborating with the CBN on the Financial System Strategy (FSS2020) to do more in ensuring that Nigeria meets the set strategic vision of being the safest and most diversified financial system among emerging markets supporting the real economy by the year 2020.
Mr. Emefiele gave the charge in Lagos on Thursday, December 7, while declaring open the 10th Anniversary Strategic Review meeting on the Financial System Strategy 2020.
He noted that the strategy review meeting was geared towards an appraisal of FSS2020 accomplishments in the past 10 years and to chart overall strategic direction for the next three years and beyond with a view to strengthening Nigeria’s financial system to meet the unfolding challenges in both domestic and international market.
While also noting that much had been achieved in the areas of payments system, mortgage; financial market, Pension, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises; Insurance and Mortgage sectors; and creating linkages in the financial system, he said a lot still needed to be done to ensure financial inclusion and the overall growth of the financial system.
Mr. Emefiele also disclosed that some Bills had been initiated by FSS2020 to strengthen and deepen the financial system including the Financial Ombudsman Bill for consumer empowerment. Accordingly, he said the FSS2020 would be resubmitting to the National Assembly a Bill for establishment of specific financial consumer ombudsman to address the challenges of protection of consumers of financial services as well as the protection of the integrity of the financial system
As catalysts to growth and development, he said the next three years provided the collaborating implementing agencies opportunities to do more to include people in the financial sector, stressing that the goal remained to get 80 percent of Nigerian adults included in the financial system. He further noted that though demographics favoured Nigeria, the nation’s population, with a growth rate of three per cent per annum, could also be an albatross if nothing concrete was done to provide for the future.
He therefore challenged all the collaborating agencies to work closely together to achieve the strategic themes of the project which are to: Strengthen and deepen the domestic markets, enhance integration with the external financial markets and Promote sustainable economic development. He particularly tasked the agencies to assess what had worked well for the implementation of the project and identify what must be done to ensure the success of the project.
“This cooperation includes funding support, capacity building and making FSS2020 an animal of its own,” Emefiele added.
The CBN Governor also used the occasion to pay tribute to the Coordinator of the FSS 2020 Office and CBN Deputy Governor in charge of Corporate Services Directorate, Alhaji Suleiman Barau, whose tenure as Deputy Governor ends in December 2017, for his dedication to the project in spite of the enormous challenges.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Alhaji Barau said all the implementing agencies agreed that despite being positioned as one of the top 25 economies in the world, in terms of GDP, the Nigerian economy and financial sector were not yet where the agencies desired them to be.
He noted that the collaboration of the different implementing agencies to forge a common objective for the financial system was a major achievement of his tenure, considering that agencies hitherto worked in silos. He, however, advised that more should be done to achieve the targets set for each of the various financial service areas.
Representatives of all the various implementing agencies such as the Federal Ministry of Finance; Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC); Financial Reporting Council (FRC); Debt Management Office (DMO); Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN); Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS); Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE); National Insurance Commission (NAICOM); Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the National Pension Commission (PenCom) were in attendance at the two-day meeting.