Consumer empowerment bill underway, says Emefiele

By Omodele Adigun

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has assured financial products consumers in the country of adequate protection as a bill to empower them would soon be presented to the National Assembly.

According to Emefiele, who stated this Thursday in Lagos at the 10th anniversary strategic review meeting on the Financial System Strategy (FSS) 2020, many bills are already in the works to strengthen and deepen the financial system, including the financial ombudsman bill for consumer empowerment.

“In this context, FSS2020 will be resubmitting to the National Assembly a bill for the establishment of specific financial consumer ombudsman to address the challenges of protection of consumers of financial services as well as the protection of the integrity of the financial system,” he stated.

“This strategy review is to discuss with all key stakeholders, and discuss financial inclusion priorities. We will also discuss the way forward by working together to achieve a strategic objective of FSS 2020 for a better financial system. This cooperation includes funding support, capacity building and making FSS2020 an animal of its own.” he added. On the initiatives introduced by FSS2020 that had deepened the economy, the CBN boss said:

He explained that services provided by FSS 2020 have far reaching impacts on the country’s economic growth in the last 10 years.

“Under financial market, Pension, MSME, Insurance and Mortgage sectors, for example,our payment system has tremendously improved. There is now a CBN Immediate Transfer Service (CBSITS) and an interbank platform for effecting payment transactions, Electronic Cheque Clearing (ECC) system allowing for a same day cheques-clearing process, Nigeria Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) as an alternative means for interbank funds transfer, among others, including the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system.

“In the Mortgage sector, one of the initiatives of FSS2020 is the establishment of Mortgage Refinancing Company (NMRC), an initiative which the Federal Ministry of Finance embraced and drives to bridge the funding cost of residential mortgages and promote the availability as well as the affordability of good housing to Nigerians by increased liquidity in the mortgage market through commercial banks, primary mortgage banks, insurance companies, private equity investors and international financial institutions.

“In the Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSME) sector of FSS2020, we have midwifed the establishment of the National Collateral Registry (NCR) to design and develop a central collateral registry for movable assets to address the collateral challenges that prevent access to finance by MSMEs.”

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Author: Uche Atuma