Nigeria

 BOFIA Amendment Will Strengthen Financial Institutions, Reposition Economy – Uba Sani

Senator representing Kaduna Central, and Chairman Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Mallam Uba Sani, has reassured Nigerians that a stable financial sector that will lift Nigeria to a new height in a Post-COVID19 world is now in place, with the Amendment of Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act 2004(Repeal and Re-enactment Bill, (BOFIA) 2020.

While making the declaration at the Public hearing on the Bill, he further explained that a “stable and strengthened banking sector will refocus its activities and concentrate on providing credit access to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to help grow the economy.”

Uba Sani, in a statement added that a properly regulated electronic transactions system will enhance operational efficiency and boost customers’ confidence in the banking sector.

At the public hearing, which was organized by the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Uba maintained that the Banking and Other Financial Institutions Act is long overdue for review and amendment.

He said a strengthened legal framework is very critical and strategic to maintaining the health of the banking sector: “A sanctions regime that is effectively implemented will help check sharp practices in the banking sector and prevent future distress”

Uba Sani commended the Senate President for his strong leadership which has helped in stabilizing the Senate and making it responsive to the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.

The senator said that the challenge of COVID-19 has further worsened the economic situation of countries, as he warned Nigeria against taking chances:”we must remain vigilant and keep our banking sector under close watch.”

Uba Sani expressed confidence that  contributions by participants at the hearing will help significantly in reinvigorating the banking and other financial services sectors, as well as stabilizing the Nigerian economy.

The public hearing on the bill jointly sponsored by Uba Sani and Senator Betty Apiafi was held alongside the Electronic Transactions Bill, 2020 sponsored by Senator Ibikunle Amosun.

The hearing, attended by representatives of relevant ministries, heads of financial institutions, key players in the banking and financial sectors, legal and financial experts, citizens and labour groups and members of the National Assembly was declared open by the Senate President Ahmad Lawan represented by the Deputy Senate Majority Leader,  Ajayi Boroffice.

Key presentations were made by the Body of Banks CEOs/Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Others were Fintech Development, Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company PLC, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Association of Bureau De Change, Association of Senior Staff of Banks and Other Financial Institutions, NIPOST, Corporate Affairs Commission, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Comrade Isa Aremu.the President, Industrial Global Union, Comrade Anthony Agbakpa, President, National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (NUBIFE), Prof. Uche Uwaleke, President of Market Academics of Nigeria and Head, CIBN, Abuja Chapter, and Mr. Obinna Chima, President, Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) also made key submissions.

Essentially, the Banks and Other Financial Institutions (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2020 seeks to update the laws governing Banks, Financial Institutions and Financial Services; enhance efficiency in the process of obtaining and/or granting of banking licenses; impose stiffer penalties for regulatory breaches in the financial services industry and also regulate the activities of Financial Technology Companies (FINTECHs).

And the Electronic Transactions Bill, 2020 Bill seeking to provide a legal and regulatory framework for conducting transactions using electronic or related media also aims to protect the rights of consumers and other parties in electronic transactions and services as well as facilitate electronic commerce in Nigeria.

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