Sola Ojo, Kaduna
A Bill seeking to amend the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA 1991) on Tuesday passed second reading in the Senate, Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking and other Financial Institutions, Uba Sani told Daily Sun on Tuesday’s night.
Senator Sani, (APC, Kaduna Central) who sponsored the Bill restated that the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2020 seeks to update the existing Act and bring it in line with global best practices.
The old Act which was enacted about 30 years ago and has, according to the senator, become obsolete as a lot of changes have taken place in the strategic banking sector giving rise to new and emerging challenges and opportunities.
The challenge of COVID-19 and the need to safeguard and strengthen Nigerian banking sector has made the repeal and re-enactment of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA 1991) an urgent and strategic imperative, he insisted.
He enumerated the objectives of the bill as seeking to update the laws governing Banks, Financial Institutions and Financial Services Companies as well as to enhance efficiency in the process of obtaining/granting banking licenses.
Other objectives, according to Senator Sani, include ‘better clarifying and accurately delineating the regulatory functions of the Central Bank of Nigeria in the financial services industry and updating and incorporating the laws for enacting, licensing and regulation of Micro-Finance Banks in the country.
‘The bill also aims to regulate the activities of Financial Technology Companies (FINTECHs) and to update commensurate penalties for regulatory breaches in the financial services sector and ensure these penalties are stiff enough to serve as a deterrent to potential breaches.’
A major index of a country on the path of sustainable development, Senator Sani observed, is the depth and stability of its financial sector.
‘A stable financial sector will lift Nigeria to a new height in a Post-COVID-19 world. A stable and strengthened banking sector will refocus its activities and concentrate on providing credit access to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to help grow the economy. We must, therefore, take all necessary measures to ensure the stability of the financial sector,’ he stated.
Thanking Senate President Ahmad Lawan and his colleagues in the Senate for their enthusiastic support for the bill, Senator Sani said: ‘It is my hope that the bill will be passed in record time because of its strategic importance to the stability of our financial sector.’