The Central Bankof Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday said it will establish the Nigerian International Financial Centre (NIFC) within the next 12 months.
According to the Governor of the bank, Godwin Emefiele, the NIFC will act as an international gateway for Capital and investments, driven by technology and payment system infrastructure.
Emefiele, spoke at the 14th Annual Banking & Finance Conference, organized by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), said that the new financial hub will curate local and international banks to make them global champions.
The CBN governor said the NIFC will be a 24/7 financial centre that will complement London, New York and Singapore financial centers and enable an acceleration of home grown initiatives such as the Infracorp plc, the N15 trillion infrastructure fund which would be launched in October.
Apart from this, Emefiele said the NIFC would also complement initiatives on the Nigerian Commodity exchange and the National Theatre creative hubs for Nigerian youths as well as the E-naira project which will also debut in October.
He said the NIFC would take advantage of existing laws such as the BOFIA 2020, NEPZA and other CBN regulations to create a fully global investment and financial hub where monies, ideas, and technology will move freely without hindrance.
“Recovery, Inclusion and Transformation: The role of Banking and Finance,” Emefiele said it was apt, given the unprecedented events of 2020, especially when considered along the measures put in place by policy makers to reverse a significant downturn in economic activities in 2020.
Recalling the steps taking to prevent the economic crisis from spilling into a financial crisis, Emefiele said CBN worked to protect the interest of depositors by ensuring that banks made adequate capital provisions to cover for unexpected losses.
“We also enabled banks to restructure loans granted to individuals and businesses significantly affected by the pandemic.
“Our banks also demonstrated exceptional resilience by putting in place business continuity plans, along with the deployment of digital channels, which ensured that the provision of financial services to customers was not disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“We are delighted that these measures have paid off. Indeed, key indicators in the banking sector continue to reflect that our banking sector remains strong, resilient, and healthy.
“Capital Adequacy Ratio and Liquidity Ratio in the banking sector have remained above the prudential limits at 15.5 and 41.3 percent, respectively.
“The Non-Performing Loan Ratio of the Banking Industry in July 2021 stood at 5.4 percent reflecting continued improvements from 6 percent in September 2020. Our banking sector remains well positioned to support the recovery efforts of the fiscal and monetary authorities.
“Nigerian banks have become not only strong and resilient, but have also carved a good niche in the world,” Emefiele said.