By Adewale Sanyaolu
As part of strategies to resolve payment-related barriers in the actualization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pan- African and Payment Settlement System (PAPSS)
The MoU was signed between both organizations at the recently concluded CIBN’s 15th annual Banking and Finance Conference which held in Abuja with the theme ‘’Repositioning the Financial Services Industry for an Evolving Glocal Context,’’.
The Conference featured five business and four plenary sessions with A-list faculty.
A communiqué released by CIBN at the end of the two-day conference, noted that Focus on improving trade by resolving payments-related barriers is a fundamental requirement for the success of the AfCFTA which has been highlighted by the PAPSS.
PAPSS provides a model that would support international payments in local currency, thus resolving specific payment-related challenges.
The communiqué added that there are a lot of opportunities for Africa and the wealth that is not being tapped because of the low level of trade interaction in the continent.
According to the communiqué, the Nigerian business model should be reshaped to address the unfriendly macroeconomic issues, adding that the growth of on-lending facilities for companies that have proper ESG goals and workable plans presents opportunities for businesses.
‘‘Infrastructure development needs to be facilitated to ensure the success of both the AfCFTA and PAPSS. The new digital infrastructure should be explored to boost financing in the creative sector is minimal and not yet understood. The players in this industry need to identify the technocrats who understand the way the technology works and play with them.
Understand how comparative economies finance the creative sector. We should consider the depth of equity financing with emphasis on creating special needs banks, investment banks, and/or large asset funds, which are ways of financing the creative sector in other jurisdictions. In some instances, deliberate rebate schemes are also employed,’’.
The communiqué added further that there is a need to leverage collaboration among various international financial institutions to boost growth and development of the creative industry.
It also noted that, with technological advancement, telemedicine has presented a viable solution for the provision of high-quality and low-cost health services.
‘‘With the policy change which has seen social insurance now being made mandatory, there will be a huge expansion in the pool of people who will require health insurance, and this presents an opportunity for the financial services industry to provide workable solutions,’’.
On banking workforce, the communiqué pointed out that social dialogue in banking enterprises must be held on issues of common interests while HR managers need to identify the factors that are within their control and strive to understand why their staff are emigrating to be able to tackle the ‘japa’ syndrome.
With the growing globalisation of work,the communiqué pointed out that, talent has become fluid and borderless, maintaining that, rather than recruit new workforce, organisations could improve or train internal talent.
The academic curriculum it stated needs to be modernised to match the demands of businesses in the current clime.
The financial sector, it added has a pivotal role to play in achieving the net-zero ambitions of the country because the growth of green finance presents an opportunity for financial institutions to lay more emphasis on green-related assets financing.
In this regard, it argued that the CIBN should be involved in negotiating the terms for access to clean technology solutions needed to tackle the adverse effects of climate change.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Conference Consultative Committee and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank Plc, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, advocated for the institution of $20 million capacity building training fund to be housed in the CIBN.
According to him, the proposed fund will be used to train and retrain workers who can fill the gap left by their colleagues who emigrate, pledging a donation of $1 million by Sterling Bank to kick start the fund.
Dignitaries at the Conference included President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu represented by the Commissioner of Finance, Doctor Rabiu Olowo, Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele who also doubled as the Chief Host.
Others in attendance include CEOs, seasoned bankers and industry stakeholders. The CIBN President, Ben Opara was host of the Conference.