By Bukola Adetoye
Lagos – Lagos State Gov. Akinwumi Ambode on Tuesday said the hosting right granted the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) to host the World Conference of Banking Institutes (WCBI) was an indication of Nigeria’s relevance in global trade and finance.
Ambode made the observation in his keynote address at the WCBI hosted by the CIBN in Lagos with the theme “Rethink the future of Banking and Finance and Life Long Learning’’.
He said: “the hosting right granted to Nigeria is a further affirmation of the county’s commitment and relevant to the development of global trade and finance”.
“We are excited by the global attention the CIBN is bringing to the country and Lagos as the state marks its 50 years of creation.
“The conference will afford us opportunities to show case the state’s full potential in all ramifications as the largest economy in Africa to the world,” he said.
He said the Nigerian banking industry had evolved overtime as a critical component of growth and social economic developments.
Ambode said the sector remained the major index to measure the financial inclusion of other sectors.
“There is no doubt about that the transformation technology has brought to banking industry all over the world impacted credible effects on delivery of wider range financial products and services.
“The evolving process in the banking sector is no doubt a continuous one and it must prepare to effectively respond to the future global changes, ’’ he said.
Ambode, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akinyemi Ashade, however, said, the key challenge that the banking sector must rise up to was how to channel funds.
“I am of the view that the key challenge that the banking sector must rise up to is how to channel funds to critical sectors, especial Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’S) at affordable cost or low interest rate.
“In an effort to address the challenge, governments have developed policies and challenges that have failed to achieve the desired objectives, ’’ he said.
He therefore said that there was urgent need to forge a better understanding between policy makers and practitioners on the need to deploy financial products that would grow opportunities for strong SME’s to thrive.
He said the Lagos State government had identified SMEs as a factor that would bring development.
He said the state had established a Trust Fund for mentoring and providing funds for young and unemployed graduates who would bring creative ideas for the transformation of the state.
“The state is prepared to partner with banking industry to tackle poverty and enhance financial literacy among indigenes.
The future of banking is in strengthening corporate services, strong risk management and good investments, ’’ he said.
Ambode said the regulators and practitioners would need to develop policies to address “disciplinary areas” to get the banking industry of the future.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that over 1000 participants attended the conference from the countries like the U.S., Germany, Brazil, Italy, Kenya, The Gambia, Togo, Mali, Kuwait, Ghana, South Africa, Singapore and Botswana, among others.