By Etuka Sunday
The Managing Director, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim has said unless North East leaders are sensitized it would be difficult to develop the region.
With an estimated population of 26.26million and a GDP of $17.4billion (5% of the National GDP), North-East is key to the Nigerian economy, as it is a bastion of commerce and trade with prominent local enterprises and well-established trade routes across the Sahara.
Alh. Ibrahim, who stated this at the annual workshop for Business Editors and Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) also said that the role of the leaders is critical to the overall success of the process of rebuilding the region.
In order to rebuild financial infrastructure of the region, the Managing Director urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide banking incentives that would lure Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and Micro Finance Banks (MFBs) to establish branches in the region.
He called on the apex bank to focus on vocational and entrepreneurial training for the region as it would address the unemployment and other aspects of human development challenges in the region.
In his presentation titled “Rebuilding Financial Infrastructure in the North East”, Director Development Finance, CBN, Dr. A. Olaitan, lamented the low level of access to the bank’s interventions in the region.
According to Deputy Director in the Department, Mr. Sani Mohammed, “of the N28 billion CBN agriculture intervention that was spent between 2001-2008, no state in the region accessed the funds.
He said: “In the commercial agricultural scheme intervention by the CBN, no state in the North East except in Taraba and Gombe which has only one each. So there is need for the region to do something about the interventions.”
On why telcos are not engaged in mobile banking, Mr. Mohammed explained that “telcos (Telecommunication Companies) are not engaged in mobile banking because most of them are not Nigerian companies and also because of the risk involved,” he said.
In his comment, chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Sen. Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim, stressed the need for the CBN to give incentives to DMBs and MFBs to make them establish more branches in the North East and give the people of the region access to finance.
His counterpart, Chairman, House Committee on Insurance and Actuarial Matters, Hon Olufemi Fakeye, urged Nigerians to cross-check every transaction that occur in their account and report any suspicious transaction adding that he has been victims of illegal transactions by some banks in the country.