OrderPaperToday – The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to pay attention to prevalent practices that pose a danger to economic growth.
The Speaker made the call during the launch of a book on banking reforms written by a member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Bode Ayorinde (APC, Ondo).
During the event, Dogara highlighted issues, including high lending rates and difficulties in accessing loans, and compared prevalent practices in the country with what goes on in other climes.
“The challenge in the banking industry in Nigeria is such that it is organized in such a way that it creates buoyancy and development in other jurisdictions, not in Nigeria. I have had cause to say this before that unless you have assets or equipment, there is no way you can take loans or access loans from Nigerian banks to do business. If you are not careful in taking loans from Nigerian banks, one will just end up in the poverty gap.”
“I don’t think our citizens are supposed to do their businesses with money they already have in their pockets. Businesses elsewhere are executed by loans by the banking industry in those countries. I don’t know why the interest rate in Nigeria is so high. What is it that we can do to lower the cost of funds in Nigeria, so that our young men, women and entrepreneurs can risk taking money from our financial institutions in order to realize their dreams?”
He questioned the likelihood of successful business reforms in the country, especially when loans remain largely inaccessible to those who need it the most to grow their businesses.
“I love the fact that the Vice President is chairing the council on the ease of doing business in Nigeria but, in dealing with most businesses, you are forced to ask what business are we doing? How do we fund these businesses?” the Speaker asked.
The Speaker, who lamented that the political will to tackle the challenge has been lacking, called on all stakeholders to work together to strengthen the various institutions within the country in line with international best practices.
“That has been the challenge, from the point of view of the Executive down to the Parliament, the political will to address this has not been there. And the answer has always been that just one opinion cannot solve the issue, all hands need to work at it. We cannot afford to continue having weak institutions in Nigeria, not after so many years of having balance.”