In a pivotal address at the 58th Annual Dinner of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Dr. Olayemi Cardoso, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), announced plans to prompt deposit money banks to bolster their capital base. This initiative aligns with President Bola Tinubu’s vision of propelling Nigeria’s economy to an impressive $1 trillion over the next seven years.
Speaking as the special guest of honor in Lagos, Cardoso acknowledged the need for collaborative efforts to achieve these ambitious economic goals. He emphasized that the CBN, under his leadership, would direct banks to increase their capital, laying the groundwork for a financial system capable of servicing a $1 trillion economy.
Cardoso articulated the importance of prioritizing price stability to safeguard the livelihoods of Nigerians. He also addressed recent negative perceptions of the apex bank, attributing them to corporate governance failures, diminished independence, deviation from the core mandate, inefficient forex rules, and a foray into development financing.
The governor pledged to tackle these challenges, stating, “Under my leadership, the Central Bank of Nigeria will vigorously address these issues. We will tackle institutional deficiencies, restore corporate governance, strengthen regulations, and implement prudent policies.”
Acknowledging the impact of past policies, Cardoso noted that the forex ban on certain items contributed to a gap between official and parallel market rates. However, he expressed optimism about the positive effects of recent measures, such as the removal of the petrol subsidy and the adoption of a floating exchange rate.
The President/Chairman-of-Council at the CIBN, Ken Opara, highlighted initiatives activated by Cardoso and urged continued focus on reforms and incentives to boost non-oil export revenue and attract investments.
Representatives from the Vice President and the Lagos governor lauded the new administration’s economic policies. The Chairman of the Body of Bank Chief Executive Officers, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, emphasized the industry’s growing strength, particularly in addressing the challenge of FX forwards.
In his goodwill message, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, commended the thriving and relatively healthy state of the industry, underscoring the potential it holds for the global financial world.
The dinner served as a platform for key stakeholders to share perspectives on economic and financial market development, with Cardoso outlining a roadmap for revitalizing the banking industry and achieving macroeconomic stability.