BusinessMoneyTop News

Nigerian banks grapple with doing business in election season


With all eyes on the February polls, financial sector players adopt ‘wait and see’ mode

By Anthony Opara

When commentators and analysts discuss what more Nigerian banks should be doing, one challenge that they usually throw up is that of banks’ boosting the economy.

They are not only right given that all over the world banks have played and yet continue to play a frontline role in growing national economies as well as expanding the tenor of business opportunities and relations on the extended global stage.

And it is not that this history-assigned role has been lost on managers of the Nigerian financial system as it is indeed to put the banks in a better position to contribute to economic development agenda of the nation that the former Governor of the Central Bank, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, embarked on a  consolidation exercise in the sector a little over a decade ago.

Since then however, it has come to the fore that liquidity alone will not fix the challenge as there are other issues like interest rate management, inflation and the complementing fiscal policy environment.

Indeed, commentators say that the biggest challenge really may be the limited economic growth ambitions of many government sector players. Long weaned on a diet of relatively easy oil money, and in a clime where politics absolutely trumps economics, many operators in the banking sector have been boxed into a corner where they frequently have to plead their case by using the readily available defence line that they cannot in all good prudential conduct be expected to out-pace their political masters! A convenient excuse but then who is there to argue with them when almost all of the critical economic fundamentals that matter in relation to the Nigerian economy remain flat on their faces?

And now this situation is not being helped by the fact that the nation is currently held in the throes of electioneering, with banks generally adopting the cautious path of holding out on such issues like granting approval to customers seeking fresh loans and advances until they can find their way through the muddle of how the forthcoming elections would ultimately pan-out.

For the apex bank, it is setting its sights almost squarely on inflation management. But critics say that there is actually very little evidence to show that inflation fighting per se really fuels economic growth. They therefore would want the bank and indeed the composite managers of the economy to look more deeply and come out with revolutionary initiatives that will fast-track the growth impetus of an economy that today very sadly sits most comfortably within ranks as some of the poorest performing economies in the continent. For an economy that only a half decade ago was an unimpeachable continental leader, this sorry situation today is plainly not edifying and needs to be urgently redressed.

Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele

Between Kabila and Onnonghen: Africa’s judiciary needs help!

Previous article

Onnonghen: Agbakoba fumes, goes to court

Next article

You may also like


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Business