The signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement is an opportunity to extend Nigeria’s banking and financial services to Africa, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.
Speaking at the twelfth Annual Banking and Finance Conference 2019 with the theme, “Future of the Nigerian Banking Industry-360’’, of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN) in Abuja on Tuesday, 24 September 2019, Osinbajo explained, however, that Nigeria should increase exports which could not be achieved without improving infrastructure.
“We have great opportunities to extend the reach of our banking and financial services across Africa where we are already making waves, and export more where we are already exporting, especially in fast moving goods, cement and now fintech.
“But we must improve infrastructure to expand our manufacturing base and produce cheaper; this is crucial because we are also the target market for all Africa.
“We are already faced with the threat of smuggling; we will now have to contend with the threat of dumping,’’ he said.
He said that the negotiations on the AfCFTA was crucial and that the service sector needed to be fully defined and restructured and expressed the need to boost Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with adequate funding.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in partnership with commercial banks was disbursing funds to one million farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
“In Agriculture, we have seen how the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has given the banking industry greater confidence to unlock new capital for Agropreneurs by de-risking value chains across the nation.
“The immediate dividend of enhanced agricultural productivity is the sharp increase in the population of employed and banked Nigerians, while reducing our foreign exchange expenditure on food imports, which can now be expended on our extensive infrastructural development and social investment programmes for further job creation and enhanced financial inclusion,’’ he said.