As part of the legislative processes to amend the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, the Senate today took debates on the bill seeking to amendment of the 29 year Act, co-sponsored by Senators Uba Sani (Kaduna Central) and Betty Appiafi (Rivers West).
Chairman,Senate Committee on Media And Public Affairs, Dr Ajibola Basiru ,explained that Senator Uba Sani who led debates on the general principles of the bill on behalf of the sponsors,stated that the aim of the amendment is to update and strengthen the existing Act to effectively address the challenges being faced in the finance services sector in Nigeria in line with global best practices.
Senator Sani explained that while in other countries such as South Africa and Egypt, the laws regulating banking and other financial institutions are regularly updated. In Nigeria, the law that was enacted almost 30 years ago has remained in force.
According to the distinguished Senator Sani,the objectives of the bill include – to update the laws governing Banks, Financial Institutions and Financial Services Companies; enhance efficiency in the process of obtaining/granting banking licenses; accurately delineate the regulatory functions of the Central Bank of Nigeria in the financial services industry; update and incorporate the laws for enacting, licensing and regulation of micro-finance banks; regulate the activities of financial technology companies (FINTECHs; and update commensurate penalties for regulatory breaches in the financial services sector.
Senator Uba Sani stated that when passed eventually, the bill will strengthen the legal framework for the regulation of banks to prevent distress especially in turbulent periods like COVID-19 so that the country can adequately prepare and deal with potential post COVID-19 challenges in the banking sector.
Meanwhile, Senator Ajibola Basiru disclosed that the Senate has mandated its committee on power to investigate all government’s intervention in the power sector since commencement of privatisation and urged the Federal government to suspend the planned hike in electricity tariffs scheduled for 1st of July 2020 as a result of hardship occasioned by the Covid-19 Pandemic.