Osinbajo calls on banks to explore African free trade opportunities

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NIGERIA Vice President Yemi Osinbajo called on Nigerian banks to look beyond their current reach in the market and explore options in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Osinbajo, at the recently concluded 14th annual Chartered Institute of Bankers conference in Abuja, said the AfCFTA presents a wide range of opportunities for bankers to explore, rather than dragging the financial space with it. financial technology companies.

“Over the past few weeks, I have participated in an intense meeting between bankers and telecom operators. The truth is that the financial and banking space must be opened up to the greatest number, and technology will make it inevitable. “

Osinbajo noted at the conference that banks fear fintech companies are about to have their meal, but there are plenty of opportunities in the AfCFTA.

The vice president said the continental trade pact was still at the stage of negotiating rules of origin, urging banks to ensure they took a role at the stage of negotiation.

The banking and financial services industry must seize the evolving opportunities of mobile payment platforms to improve financial inclusion, he said.

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The vice president further said that the banking and financing had supported the economic development of the country.

He urged banks to explore consumer and housing finance opportunities, noting that the link between housing and economic prosperity is a given.

A federal high court in Abuja in August upheld the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) request to freeze the accounts of six fintech companies.

The umbrella bank said it was investigating “illegal foreign exchange trading” carried out by fintech companies. He asked for a court order to freeze their accounts for 180 days pending completion of the investigations.

The companies included: Rise Vest Technologies Limited, Bamboo Systems Technology Limited, Bamboo Systems Technology Limited OPNS, Chaka Technologies Limited, CTL / Business Expenses and Trove Technologies Limited.

Following this concern, many Nigerians have expressed concern that apex bank has been tough on fintech companies exploring options in the financial sector.

They insist that apex bank stops innovations that promote financial inclusion.

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UK Department for International Development associate consultant Celestine Okeke said the federal government needs to expand the space for fintech companies looking to explore opportunities for financial inclusion.

An economist, Tope Fasua, said this shows that fintech companies “are starting to have some systemic importance, in which case it could have a ripple effect throughout the economy.”

“This is why regulators must continue to be extremely careful, in terms of regulating and understanding what fintech companies do,” he added.

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