Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, Alhaji Umar Ibrahim has sought close working relationship between the corporation and National Assembly for the safety of more banks and other financial institutions in the country.
This is even as he lamented that about 60 percent of Nigerians still find it difficult to access banking facilities despite the proliferation of commercial banks, but assured that “the NDIC is working to ease this trend and make available avenue to contain the situation”.
Ibrahim, who spoke yesterday when he led management team of the corporation on a courtesy visit to the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan in his office, however, affirmed that financial inclusion was necessary to pull the masses out of poverty level.
The managing director informed that NDIC had been able to achieve tremendously in the area of support to keep alive ailing banks and to tackle cyber-crimes, assuring that it would further strive to gain more mileage in this regards.
He explained that creating the required financial accessibility for downtrodden Nigerians, more micro finance and payment service banks will have to be licensed and established at the hinterlands across the country.
“The issue of financial inclusion is very critical globally; we have a lot of statistics that indicate clearly that about 60 per cent of Nigerians do not have access to finance.
“People travel for hundreds of kilometers before they can reach a branch of commercial or microfinance bank. There are local governments and communities that do not have a branch, they do not have ATM (Automated Teller Machines), they have nothing and you cannot achieve those without some kind of sustainable financial inclusion.
“We are working hard to ensure that the situation is changed in addressing the problem of poverty.
“In achieving this, Nigeria has signed ombudsman to eradicate or to eliminate the problem of access to finance, measures have been taken to ensure that we gain more mileage in this area by way of establishing more microfinance banks, licensing mobile banks, creation of agents banks”, he said.
Ibrahim further explained that access to financial inclusion speaks not only to somebody walking into a bank or using his phone to make transactions, but also allowing the citizen to be able to access information, get help, get small loans in a very responsive and responsible manner so that he or she can be able to have a sustainable livelihood and thriving business.
He, however, urged the 9th National Assembly to revisit the request of the corporation for repeal and reenactment of its Act which didn’t scale through during the 8th Assembly.
Responding, the Senate President said the upper legislative chamber remain committed to healthy banking and other financial institutions in the country.
Lawan assured the NDIC team that the National Assembly will not relent in its legislative oversight functions to ensure that the masses are positively impacted in the scheme of things.
“NDIC is a very important institution of government. You have the mandate to make our banking system work. I am delighted you have done that over the years.
“We in the Senate will continue to work closely together with you. Our relevant Committees will partner with you to ensure that citizens are not shortchanged”, he said.
While commending the efforts of the Corporation over the years, for protecting customers’ interest and its various engagements like workshops, public hearing and monitoring, he further promised that the NDIC Act pending in the Senate will receive urgent attention as soon as the Senate resume from the ongoing short recess.
He said: “The Bill on re-enactment of NDIC will receive adequate attention. We are going to work on the amendment. All the issues confronting the financial services and regulations will not be wheeled down for the interest of Nigerians. We have the responsibility to make sure that this economy reclaims its lost glory.
“We cannot have a stable economy and even country without a healthy banking system, sober will continue in our duties to ensure that our banking system is reliable”, he added.
Lawan, however, berated the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation, NAIC for not meeting the demands of those he described as mainly disadvantaged farmers, saying “we must encourage and empower these farmers. Agricultural produce add huge impacts into the economy”.
“Our banks hardly make available facilities for these less privileged farmers and while they are available, the interest rate is high on the roof. This is undermining the efforts to collaborate the diversification agenda of Mr. President”, he noted.
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