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‘22nd World Conference of Banking Institutes will boost Nigeria’s economy’

Prof. Segun Ajibola, President and Chairman of Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

PROF. Segun Ajibola is the President and Chairman of Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN). In this interview with PAUL ADUNWOKE, he spoke on the 22nd World Conference of Banking Institutes scheduled to hold on Monday 24th to Friday 28th April 2017, at Eko Hotel and Suites Victoria Island, Lagos.

What is this conference?
The conference started in 1975, it is a biannual event, it brings together bankers from all over the world under aegis of banking institutes and we have over 100 countries all over the world participating in this conference. It is an opportunity for bankers to come together to discuss issues considered to be topical to the bank practitioners, operators, regulators and even academia in banking and finance across the glob. So, in every conference a team agreed on a particular theme and subthemes. All authorities in banking and financing as operators, regulators and academia gathered together to discuss the theme and sub-themes, which are communicated to the whole world. The platform will be an opportunity for new relationships and also for bankers to know themselves as operators and regulators. This is third times this conference is coming to Africa and first it is coming to West Africa Sub-Region and is being hosted by Nigeria.

Who are the sponsors of the conference?
In Nigeria here we have quite number of sponsors especially bankers’ committee, which include operators and regulators in the banking system. They have done excellent job by providing substantially, financial support all the banks in Nigeria including Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

In addition we had privilege of outreaching other cooperate institutions and individuals. For instance, Lagos State government endorsed the conference as tourism for Lagos at 50 celebrations that are going on now with this Lagos provided financial support for the conference. We also have some others individuals who have provided financial support including other who have indicated with intension to support the conference financially.

What is the vision of the conference in future of banking and financing in Nigeria economy especially this time of economic recession?
The theme of the conference is “Re-Thinking the future of banking and finance and life long learning” in other words; banking practices are changing all over the world. Technology is playing a major role the template of practicing banking and service is also changing fast. Banking and finance services are becoming obsolete every day. Banking education must outline it self to the changing environment so, how do we restructure banking education? In such away that banking division will be anticipated and education system will be upgraded. The education curriculum will contain what the future of banking is likely to be. In other words we cannot continue to learn under the old order, we must restructure education system that will be futuristic in banking system.

We need to be banking models of tomorrow So, how do we restructure the education system. Take into consideration the likely changes, the dynamics and new templates that will come and play a vital role in banking and finance in nearest future. In other words, how do we look at education system in such away standardized practices will be introduced in our educational system at the end of the day you see the education system been proactive. To enable us meet up with global standards and at the same time we will boost our domestic economy.

We infused into the conference tourism because we believe tourism is at very low end in Nigeria. So the delegates from over 100 countries across the glob will come into the country to see tourism attractions it will boost Nigeria economy. This will open a new chapter and multiplication in tourism in Nigeria. I see a situation where it will help our domestic economy; bankers in Nigeria will discover new relationship with foreign practitioners.

How will this conference encourage professionalism in banking and finance?
Professionalism starts from training; you must be trained on the arts and science of banking and finance before you become a professional. You must be molded and trained properly in banking system. You must have been infused into the curriculum of banking education with ethics and professionalism. It is this training that makes one a future banker. We have started doing it in Chartered Institute of bankers of Nigeria; today we have agreements with over 45 Universities and Polytechnics concerning their academic curriculums. So, by the time the students will graduate they become professional in the industry. This is what we try to benchmark with international best practices and we have been doing this in collaboration with international institutions for effective trainings and certifications of practitioners in the industry.

Can you explain the past experience of banking and finance and relate it with the current experience in the industry?
Very good question let me look at the last 20 or 30 years in the country. Unfortunately, banking was hijacked by none bankers. Banking license was deregulated it became who had the license and cash works in bank. So, those who dominated banking practice during those years were never good or qualified to work in the industry. Looking at the composing of the board and the management, the expertise, in many cases there was no law regulating the industry. This affected quality service, cooperate governance practices, ethics, professionalism and code of conducts among practitioners in the banking system. As of today we have new cooperate governance, there are strict requirements for banking system. For you to assume top management position there are requirements for instance, position of director and executive management including to become a branch manager among others. All these are things we put together; to redefine Nigeria banking system. Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria in collaboration with Central Bank of Nigeria rolled out new code of conduct, which all the practitioners in the industry have queued in to it. The code of conduct serves as guideline to all practitioners in banking. So, it is no longer business as usual in banking and finance in Nigeria today.

Definitely, there are improvements in banking system; there is no board of any bank today that will behave the way it used to be in the last 30 years because laws are more effective now than before. Banking industry was under crisis to compare what is going on now.

What are the things expected from the delegates who will participate at the conference?
The delegates are banking practitioners; some are from academic community. They are coming as practitioners, as operators with words of global perspectives which they want to shear with us. With hopes Nigeria is rich and friendly with investment opportunities and tourism attractions. I believe by the time they offer what they have Nigerians will benefit as a country. Among those delegates are decision markers because their coming will make investments flow, these set of authoritarians in investment decision making across the glob. So, we believe it is an opportunity for Nigerians to discover new investors and for global investors to discover investment opportunities in Nigeria.

What is major challenge facing banking and finance in Nigeria today?
The major challenge for banking and finance is the economic challenge, when economy is challenged banking and finance as a sector is also challenged. You will notice in the past two years global oil and gas market, is confronted with one problem or the other and banks are heavily exposed. This also affected our domestic oil and gas market, which makes banks to make no gain coupled with challenges of deregulations.

When there is economic challenge central bank should look at how to manage local products. Again liberalize polices for investors who want to invest into Nigeria to avoid bottlenecks in investment services. CBN, should also look at how to encourage none oil exporters, including encouraging Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) to source their raw materials locally. Intervention funds are very important to invest in agriculture and other local productions with the hope of straighten domestic economy.

Recently there are looted funds in the country what do you thing government should do with these funds to straighten economy?
Any money that is not made available to particular set of economy is useless to the economy. I am aware these looted funds are with government and they have been trying to use the funds to stabilize our economy. But the fund can only belong to government after court pronouncements; so, we should try to copy other developed countries, which had the same experience.

In this article:
CIBNSegun Ajibola


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