Tuesday, September 10, 2013 / CIBN
BEING THE WELCOME ADDRESS BY MR. SEGUN AINA, OFR, FCIB, THE PRESIDENT/ CHAIRMAN OF COUNCIL, THE CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF BANKERS OF NIGERIA [CIBN] AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE 7TH ANNUAL BANKING AND FINANCE CONFERENCE HELD AT TRANSCORP HILTON HOTEL, ABUJA. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2013
Your Excellencies very distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;
As we commence the program for the 7th Annual Banking and Finance Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), I warmly welcome all of you to this opening ceremony and indeed welcome all participants to this 2-day conference.
In a very special way, I welcome and thank the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, for accepting to be the Special Guest of Honour at this event. I also acknowledge the support and indeed the presence of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, who is delivering the Keynote Address in a few minutes’ time. To you highly distinguished Senators, Honourable members of the House of Representatives, Honourable Ministers, the resource persons and other Special Guests, goes my appreciation for honouring our invitation.
Now coming back home, I would like to give due recognition to the Institutes 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, National Treasurer, and Governing Council Members who are here today and all of whom have continued to make significant contributions to the development of the Institute. And of course, we value the services, commitment and the presence in our midst this morning of the Past Presidents of the Institute. Our dear Fellows, Associates, Honourary Senior Members, Managing Directors of Banks and Other Financial Institutions, other Members of the Institute, gentlemen of the press, I acknowledge your presence.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this Conference has come a long way. Its history can be traced to 1982 when it started as the Delegates’ Conference hosted in turns by Branches and focusing more at promoting understanding and interaction among Branches of the Institute. The name was changed to Bankers Conference in 1994 when the horizon was broadened to include deliberations on issues beyond branch concerns. It was renamed the Banking and Finance Conference in 2007 during which time it was designated as an annual event to be held in Abuja. The scope of participation was enlarged to cover the entire spectrum of the financial services industry and also to make it a general learning platform for members and other stakeholders. The Conference currently aims at generating solution-focused ideas and expanding the knowledge of participants around key topical and contemporary issues.
The last six editions have provided a stimulating forum for discussion on a wide range of issues facing the banking and finance industry in particular and the economy at large. It has played important and significant roles in articulating ideas that had contributed to the determined efforts of the monetary and fiscal authorities to ensure a robust and integrated financial sector and economy and at the end; communiqués were issued and circulated to all stakeholders. This 7th in the series, designated the 50th Anniversary edition will not be an exception.
Today, it is delightful to observe that a number of policy recommendations in the previous editions have been or are being implemented by relevant authorities. For instance in 2007, the conference recommended the establishment of a Credit Bureau that will significantly help in the credit risk management function and we are glad to note that Credit Bureaus are now in existence in Nigeria. We also advocated in the same year for Banks to collaborate amongst themselves for efficiency of resource allocation and today there are shared services initiatives that banks have established which have reduced their operating cost and improved efficiency. In 2008, the conference recommended that key Ministers appointed to head key Federal Ministries should be assigned specific and measurable deliverables and that has happened. In that same year, the conference canvassed the establishment of Sovereign Infrastructure Fund and today the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund is in place and functioning. In the year 2009 and 2010 the conference recommended the fast tracking of the proposal for the development of a Competency Framework and you are all aware that in November 2012, the Central Bank released the guidelines for the implementation of the Competency Framework for the Nigerian Banking Industry with the Institute as the sole accreditation and certification agency.
However, there are other key recommendations for which we are expecting positive outcomes. These include issues related to the diversification of the economy away from oil, given the uncertainties of the oil and gas sector globally. This has become imperative especially with the threat posed by the quest for alternative energy sources and the discovery of shale oil and gas. Also the issue of unique and coordinated National Identification program is yet to be completed while provision of adequate infrastructure still remains a major challenge.
It is therefore appropriate that as we celebrate this 50th anniversary of our Institute we should focus on the very foundational mandate and objective of our highly revered profession. This is the reason why we have chosen as the theme of this year’s conference, the subject: Upholding Professionalism in the Financial Services Industry: Supporting the Economy.
Indeed, this is the right time to take another critical look at professionalism which is the core mandate of our Institute and rededicate ourselves to our primary responsibility as bankers and financial services providers.
Banks, Bankers and the Institute have indeed been supporting the economy and will do more especially through the financial intermediation role. Banks’ support for the real sector of the economy is very critical and necessary. However, the public expectation for the banking system to fully support the real sector, which in most cases, requires long term funding and lower/single digit interest rate, may not be met by the Banks alone in view of the current tenor structure of their deposit liabilities and high total cost of fund. While our Banks are expected to be creative in this respect and leverage on their relationships with suppliers of long term funds within and outside Nigeria, there is the need for government to accelerate the various mechanisms for providing special intervention funds and other incentives that will reduce funding cost and provide long term financing to the real sector especially agriculture and general manufacturing.
The Institute will continue to be a partner in progress in all initiatives aimed at deepening banking knowledge and improving delivery of top class financial services to the Nigerian populace as well as ensure consumer protection. In this respect, CIBN is committed to producing and attracting world class banking talents which is one of the deliverables under the Financial Sector Strategy [FSS 2020] coordinated by the Central Bank of Nigeria. We appreciate the support of the National Assembly, in particular, the relevant committees for giving due attention to relevant banking Bills especially those related to the FSS 2020 initiatives.
For example, one of the bills relate to the creation of the office of the Financial Ombudsman. CIBN has coordinated and acted as the Secretariat for the Ethics and professionalism Sub-committee of the Bankers Committee, playing the role of ombudsman for the Banking industry, an assignment we have performed creditably. To ensure that the office of the Financial Ombudsman, when created through the appropriate Act, takes off speedily, the CIBN is willing to make available the expertise and structure already established and functioning for that purpose.
It is my firm belief that this Conference would provide a unique opportunity for players in the financial services industry to explore, share experiences and identify strategies to be pursued in ensuring that the financial services industry effectively plays its expected role in supporting economic development. This will be the center of our deliberations for the next two days and I accordingly enjoin everyone to participate fully in the various sessions and come up with recommendations and ideas that will grow the Nigerian economy in a sustainable manner and in the right direction.
I have no doubt that this will be achieved as we have lined up as resource persons, Session Chairmen, Guest Speakers and Panelists who are accomplished men and women, erudite scholars, and acknowledged subject matter experts in their various fields. We have very high expectations from this Conference and I have no doubt that it will be a time valuably spent for all of us.
In our usual tradition I assure you that, the communiqué that would emerge at the end of the Conference would be widely publicized and presented to all stakeholders for consideration, adoption and implementation.
Your Excellencies, distinguished guests and participants, ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you once again and wish you all very fruitful deliberations at this Conference.
Thank you for your attention.
Segun Aina, OFR, FCIB
President/Chairman of Council
The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria
September 10, 2013