Nigeria plans to upscale its financial services sector with the issuance of licences to payment services banks as part of efforts to deepen access to finance and drive economic growth.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would soon start to issue the licences to increase access to financial services by low income earners and the unbanked population.
Osinbajo spoke yesterday at the opening of the three-day 22nd African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) Conference at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos. The CBN had last month issued guidelines on the licensing and regulation of payment services banks.
The vice president said the introduction of payment services banks will enhance distribution of micro insurance, micro loans and popular participation in the stock market.
According to him, experience has shown greater financial inclusion as a short mile away from the engagement of other financial activities, including micro insurance, micro loans and indeed greater participation in the stock market.
Nigeria is also working with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to establish a $500 million innovation fund to support technological innovations and start-ups.
Osinbajo said companies must innovate and take advantage of the unique features of the African economy, adding that African companies must build on greater advantage of fintechs.
According to him, given the size of the Nigerian economy and the potential of technology and creative segment, capital market operators must work towards innovative financing solutions to lend further support to these two sectors.
“Another key role that ASEA can play in this era is to assist technology start-ups to find resources they need to promote and roll out their businesses. We in Nigeria have an advisory group in technology and creativity and one of our dominant discussions with the young entrepreneurs in the sector is on the lack of affordable and capital,” Osinbajo said.
He added that partnership was also essential to ensure that African champions continue to rise in a sustainable manner, noting that such partnership must be between government, private firms and businesses associations.
He reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to ensure macroeconomic stability in an inclusive economy with a diversified production base, pointing out that government realises that a conducive and supportive environment is essential for business to thrive.
According to him, because government also realised the importance of sustainable future, Nigeria became the first African country to float the green bond to promote the environmental objective of its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and ensuring that Nigeria’s rising population is protected, housed without further depleting or damaging its resources.
Finance Minister Mrs Zainab Ahmed urged ASEA to develop a strong and vibrant domestic investors base.
Ahmed, who was represented by Acting Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms Mary Uduk, said that low domestic investors base is limiting African capital markets.
She said that the low capital market size of Africa was limiting market potentials, adding that ASEA must promote world-class capital market characterised by high level of liquidity.
Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) Chief Executive Oscar Onyema, who is also the President of ASEA, said the conference’s theme, “Champions On the Rise: Africa’s Ascension to a More Sustainable Future”, could not be more timely, given the expectations that Africa is positioned for economic acceleration similar to the Asian boom with several African businesses translating opportunities into enduring business value.
ASEA aims to do more to support African exchanges and businesses to integrate digital technology, especially data analytics, into their business models.
“Today, sub-Saharan Africa is growing at 3.1 per cent as political and economic developments in a number of African countries experience some relatively progressive regime changes. In the capital market, African exchanges have become more robust from a regulatory, technology and product standpoint with six African exchanges now represented on the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE),” Onyema said.
SOURCE; THE NATION