Rather than deploying capital to Dubai and other safe havens for investment, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has urged banks to put their money into developing Nigerian cities and states, just as the President of Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Bayo Olugbemi, called on the lenders to carve out new roles for themselves in achieving sustainable future for the country .
Sanwo-Olu’s plea may have been informed by the recent collaboration between some local banks and international pimps scouting for Nigerian companies, wealthy families and individuals to invest in Dubai and other investment hubs around the world.
Just last year, Access Bank in partnership with Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) reached out to Nigerians and African businesses to invest in the $158bilion Dubai’s economic zone, which, in 2019,had the presence of 2005 African firms with huge investments.
But speaking at the just-concluded CIBN 13th Annual Bankers Conference, simultaneously held in Lagos and Abuja, the two leaders urged the banks to put their resources into the development of Nigerian cities and states with a view to achieving sustainable future.
Sanwo-Olu, who spoke in Lagos as the chief host, stated that the public sector could not do it alone without the cooperation of the organised private sector.
His words:”For us in Lagos, especially for the government that we run here today, it is clear that the public sector cannot do it by itself. One of our primary responsibilities is to expand a space for you, the private sector; to put your money and your resources and creativity into the development of our various states and cities, Lagos inclusive. We must create an enabling environment for you to do what you do best. And as bankers and financial service providers, which mobilise and deploy capital for solving vital problems, I invite you for collaboration in creating a sustainable future.
This requires a financial service sector that is not only dynamic but it is globally competitive; it requires a financial service sector that is not only profit-driven but also willing and able to provide support for various sectors in our economy; and will not see only the financial benefits, short or medium term, but will be critical to providing a solid base for the future economic progress, prosperity and improved quality of life for the larger percentage of our citizens.
“At the end of the day, we all must be concerned about the society that works for all of us; where people can realistically aspire to have better life for themselves and for their families”.
On the theme of the conference, “Facilitating a Sustainable Future: the Role of Banking & Finance”, Sanwo-Olu said, as bankers, COVID-19 have thrown up new normal with critical lessons for the sector.
He stated: “I believe, for us as bankers, the pandemic could have brought lessons about digitalization; about technology; it would have brought challenges around creating innovative ways where we need to engage ourselves, our customers, how do we respond to new business continuity plans.For these are some of the ‘new normals’ that the pandemic has brought forward.
Speaking in Abuja, Olugbemi challenged CIBN members to uncover and articulate the roles of the banking and finance sector in achieving a sustainable future for the country. He noted that “given the recent disruption caused by the impacts of the Covid-19, the role of banks have become more important now than ever before.”