Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Tuesday charged financial institutions to come up with innovative solutions that will aid economic recovery.
Sanwo-Olu gave the charge in Lagos at the 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference, with the theme: ”Economic Recovery, Inclusion and Transformation: The Role of Banking and Finance”.
The conference was facilitated by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
He said that the world was grappling with the coronavirus pandemic and struggling to rebuild and restore disrupted economies.
According him, unfortunately, the pandemic is still very much in the world, hence, countries must continue to tackle it even as they try to mitigate its impact on lives, livelihoods and societies.
”Banks no doubt, have a very significant role to play in the economic recovery we would like to see.
”The challenge of poverty as we know it, is one that long predates COVID-19 even as we focus on defeating COVID-19 in the short-to medium-term, we must not forget the long-standing challenges that our planet faces – poverty, inequality, climate change.
”More than ever before, we need our banking and financial institutions to step up, with new and innovative financing mechanisms and solutions.
”These solutions should be with a focus on marginalised and vulnerable segments of society, to support governments and public institutions, as we work to build a world that is just, fair and equitable in all respects,” he said.
The governor said that the aftermath of the Second World War led to the establishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, as financial institutions to help the world, especially Europe, rebuild and recover from the devastation of the war.
He said that the first set of loans issued by the World Bank were to European countries, which bore much of the brunt of the war.
Sanwo-Olu said that the World Bank contributed to the reconstruction of Europe, even before the emergence of the Marshall Plan in 1948.
According to him, this is the same kind of transformative role that the Nigerian banking sector is expected to play in the era of COVID-19.
He said that recent data from the Central Bank of Nigeria indicated that it had disbursed more than N400 billion to over 600,000 persons, as loan facilities to help households cope with the impact of the pandemic.
”This is apart from the combined hundreds of billions dedicated to manufacturing, healthcare, aviation and other critical sectors of the economy, as well as reduced interest rates and loan moratoriums.
”I must specially commend the Central Bank for taking the lead in this regard, and for setting a good example for the entire industry.
”CACOVID is another very good example of what is possible when banks come together to support lives and livelihoods.
”The investments made in healthcare and in the distribution of palliatives early on in the pandemic helped to make a difference, and I believe this contributed to Nigeria’s relatively early exit from the pandemic-induced recession.
”In Lagos State, we also have the Creative Industries initiative by the Bankers Committee, which will see the complete redevelopment of the National Theatre premises into a world-class Creative Park for film, music, fashion and IT,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He said that the Creative Industries initiative by the Bankers Committee would support the talents and aspirations of tens of thousands of young Nigerians.
The governor said that these initiatives and many more would help the country build back better from the pandemic, while also laying the foundation for longer-term economic resilience. (NAN)