February 16, 2012
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, yesterday, said the level of poverty in Nigeria will continue to rise unless there is a deliberate effort to create other sources of revenue.
Speaking at the Murtala Mohammed annual memorial lecture in Lagos, in a paper entitled: “Banking Sector, Financial Reforms, Impact on the Nigerian Economy and Economic Development,” Sanusi cautioned against excessive borrowing from developed countries by Nigeria and its counterparts in the African continent.
He said African countries should be able to put in place measures to develop their resources to be able to compete favourably in the international arena.
Sanusi said the country, presently, has a dysfunctional economy, emphasizing that there is an urgent need for a clear understanding of economic direction and structural adjustment that would create other avenues for further revenue.
According to him, it is an abnormal situation for the economy to grow without impact on the average Nigerian, especially when viewed in the light of the recent report of the Nigeria Bureau of Statistic, NBS, where over 100 million Nigerians are said to be living below poverty level.
He stated that the current leadership of the CBN, as parts of its contribution to the development of the economy, was building a new financial system that would play a catalyst role in the productive sector of the economy apart from monetary policies.
He said: “We are building a new banking model, the type that will contribute meaningfully to the economy, other than monetary policies.”
Capital market recovery
He expressed optimism that the Nigerian capital market would recover fully in the next three years, noting that the current slow recovery has nothing to do with monetary policies of the apex bank.
He regretted that the agriculture sector that contributes 42 per cent to the Gross Domestic, GDP, is being neglected, adding that the CBN and banks are doing all it takes to revive the sector.
The CBN Governor further disclosed that the apex bank, in conjunction with the Bankers’ Committee, is working on women empowerment.
He said: “Between 2012 and 2014, 40 per cent top management positions in banks are to be held by women. By December 2014, 30 per cent board seats in banks will be held by women. Also, we decided that women-owned businesses are to be supported by credit facilities at a single digit interest.”
The banking watchdog boss affirmed that Nigeria was a poor oil producing country, stating that statistics have shown that in Nigeria, it is one barrel of oil to 80 Nigerians, whereas in Saudi Arabia it is one barrel to three persons.
On cashless Lagos, he said it was on course, noting that in the next three years, the policy would reduce banks’ operating costs by 30 per cent.