By HENRY UMORU
ABUJA — CENTRAL Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, among other stakeholders, have hailed the proposed establishment of Nigerian International Financial Centre, NIFC.
According to the CBN, NIFC will attract top-rated international financial services firms to invest in the centre and participate in Africa’s development.
CBN and other bodies made these positions known in its Financial System Strategy 2020, FSS2020, submitted to the Senate during public hearing on the proposed Bills to establish NIFC and office of the Nigerian Financial Ombudsman, ONFO.
CBN deputy governor in-charge of Corporate Services, Suleiman Barau, said with the proposed Ombudsman, Nigeria will become Africa’s financial hub and a powerhouse in the global financial system as well as create a financial system that could support Nigeria in line with its aspiration to be one of the world’s 20 largest economies by the year 2020.
On the establishment of the Financial Ombudsman, Barau, who noted that it was an alternative financial dispute institution, reminded the Senate of “international best practice” applicable in the UK where the Financial Ombudsman made a yearly report to the regulator (in this case CBN) on the discharge of its functions.
Senate President, David Mark, while declaring it open, said the centre would facilitate the diversification of the Nigerian economy via increased contribution to the financial sector.
Represented by Senate Deputy Leader, Abdul Ningi, Mark noted that the Bill, when passed into law, would allow investors to come to Nigeria, adding that it will put an end to the present mono economy nature of Nigeria.,
He stressed that any transaction can equally be done through the Ombudsman.
Speaking further, the CBN deputy governor noted that with the NIFC, Nigeria was set to join the ranks of Dubai, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Malaysia, UK, Australia and Republic of Ireland.
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman, Joint Committees on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions; Judiciary; Human Rights and Legal Matters and Finance, Senator Bassey Edet out, said the Bill to establish the Centre was a critical component of the overall strategic plan to plug the entire West Africa and indeed, Nigeria, into the global financial set-up to enhance the economic diversification, growth and development of the region.
Senator Otu said: “If passed into law, the Centre will attract significant funding and other developmental resources needed for tapping the unexplored potentials of the sub-Saharan region as happened in the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, South Africa, Hong Kong, China, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom etc.”