2008 Special Forum Of Bank Directors Association Of Nigeria
Jun 13, 2008 - I am delighted to be at this special forum of distinguished men and women in the Banking sub-sector of the economy. As reliably informed, this is an annual event and a regular forum for exchange of views on contemporary issues of mutual interest, as they affect the industry. I commend your initiatives and hope that the impact of this occasion will be positively felt in the Banking Industry.
The Banking sub-sector is perhaps the most vibrant in the economic sector. It has over the years undergone a series of fundamental processes and transformation. Since its recapitalization and consolidation process it has emerged strongly as a major player in the nation’s financial sector, to function effectively and compete favourably in the global banking system.
It is indeed gratifying to see the impact of some of our Banks in the international market. For instance, it is no longer news that some of our Banks in Nigeria are being quoted in various stocks and capital markets across the globe including the British Stock Exchange. This is a commendable feat which must be sustained and enhanced.
As a critical sub-sector of the economy, it is essential that the Banking Industry performs its expected roles by providing necessary support towards engineering economic growth and business development in the country. It is not sufficient for the Banking sector to stick to its traditional functions, but to also, as a matter of deliberate policy support the government by providing sufficient leverage for the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
It is a fact, that the SMEs has been identified as a major catalyst for economic development even in developed economies. We need to buy into the practice worldwide where SMEs have been used as the engine of rapid economic development. We must put in place a mechanism to growth and expansion of this category of business enterprise in the country. I urge the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and all the existing Banks operating in the nation’s economy to work out a favourable lending rate in support of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
In Lagos State, one of our major priorities has been to enhance growth by providing necessary support and incentive for Small and Medium Enterprises to thrive. In furtherance of our policy, we have initiated and implemented various programmes and strategies in this direction. We are committed to facilitating the necessary framework and conducive environment for business activities to thrive in the State.
Since assumption of office, we have embarked on massive rehabilitation and provision of basic infrastructure to make life more meaningful for our teeming population and in line with our vision to build a model mega-city. We have invested massively in road rehabilitation and construction, transportation and traffic management, security and infrastructural development. Indeed, in the past one year, we have embarked on various policies and projects with appreciable impact on the citizenry.
In achieving our goal of building Africa’s model mega city we have continued to solicit the support and cooperation of all and sundry including corporate bodies and private sector through the public private partnership (PPP) initiatives. I am pleased to acknowledge the level of support and corporation we have received from various organizations who in the past one year have partnered us in some critical sectors including security, housing and infrastructure. While soliciting more of your cooperation, I want to assure you of our commitment towards creating the enabling environment essential for growth and business development.
Before I conclude, distinguished Bankers, Ladies and Gentlemen, one financial instrument that our government would need to achieve our goals is the accurate, appropriate and up-to-date payment of taxes. As bankers and financial experts, I am sure you appreciate the importance of taxation in an economy. Tax evasion is not only anti-development but also an economic crime against the State. Your cooperation in this regard is essential as a mark of your individual and corporate social responsibility.
Finally, I commend and congratulate the Bank Directors Association of Nigeria (bdan) on the success of this occasion. It is my firm conviction that at the close of this forum, the Banking Industry would be further enriched with valuable ideas, essential to the growth and development of the Industry.
I wish you all fruitful deliberations.
Thank you all for listening and God bless.
Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN),