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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

COVID induced economic downturn: Banks have roles to play says Sanwo-Olu – ITREALMS

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In order to rebuild the economies disrupted by the still ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor of Lagos, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said that banks especially in Nigeria have significant role to play in any recovery plan, reports ITREALMS.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State

Speaking as the special guest at the hybrid 14th annual Banking and Finance Conference with the theme: “Economic Recovery, Inclusion & Transformation: The Role of Banking & Finance” which held both physically and virtually in both Lagos and Abuja, Gov. Sanwo-Olu told participants in the centre of excellence that as the world struggles to rebuild and restore disrupted economies even as humanity tries to mitigate its impact on lives, livelihoods and societies, the banks, no doubt, have a very significant role to play in the economic recovery we would like to see.

He noted that for instance that after the second world war, the first set of loans issued by the World Bank were to European countries, which bore much of the brunt of the war and continue in the contributed to the reconstruction of Europe even before the emergence of the Marshall Plan in 1948.

“This is the same kind of transformative role that the Nigerian banking sector is expected to play in the era of Covid-19,” he said, stressing that recent data from the Central Bank indicated that it has disbursed over N400 billion to over 600,000 persons, as loan facilities to help households cope with the impact of the pandemic.

This, Sanwo-Olu said, apart from the combined hundreds of billions dedicated to manufacturing, healthcare, aviation, and other critical sectors of the economy, as well as reduced interest rates and loan moratoriums.

Also, the Governor commended the Central Bank for taking the lead in this regard, and for setting a good example for the entire industry.

CACOVID, he said, is another very good example of what is possible when banks come together to support lives and livelihoods.

“The investments made in healthcare and in the distribution of palliatives early on in the pandemic helped make a difference, and I believe this contributed to Nigeria’s relatively early exit from the pandemic- induced recession,” he said.

In Lagos State, the governor said, have the Creative Industries initiative by the Bankers Committee, which will see the complete redevelopment of the National Theatre premises into a world-class Creative Park for film, music, fashion and IT, supporting the talents and aspirations of tens of thousands of young Nigerians.

“All of these and many more will help us build back better from the pandemic, while also laying the foundation for longer-term economic resilience. The challenge of poverty as we know it is one that long predates Covid, and even as we focus on defeating Covid in the short- to medium-term, we must not forget the longstanding challenges that our planet faces - poverty, inequality, climate change, and so on,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Pointing out that more than ever before “we need our banking and financial institutions to step up, with new and innovative financing mechanisms and solutions, and with a focus on marginalized and vulnerable segments of society, to support governments and public institutions as we work to build a world that is just, fair and equitable in all respects.

He expressed the trust that over the next two days, this Conference will deliberate in depth along these lines, and come up with workable recommendations for which implementation will be resolutely pursued.

Further, he congratulated the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Nigeria (CIBN) on the successful hosting of this 14th edition of the annual Conference.

“Let me also specially congratulate my brother and friend, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, and Chair of the Organizing Committee for this event,” he said.

ITREALMS recalls that the conference theme on “Economic Recovery, Inclusion & Transformation: The Role of Banking & Finance” was delivered by His Excellency Mr. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda.

Kagame, ITREALMS reports was supported by other eminent national and international subject matter experts and practitioners who were carefully selected as faculty during the conference, including the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, General Muhammadu Buhari, retired, whereas the event witness a goodwill message from the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, as the Chief Host.

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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