2017 economic outlook better —Jaiz Bank boss

MANAGING Director of Jaiz Bank, Mallam Hassan Usman says Nigeria’s economic outlook in 2017 is much better than that of 2016.

Usman who spoke on Tuesday during an interaction with business correspondents in Abuja said “activities so far recorded show 2017 far better than 2016 if Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) continues with its current forex policy; Federal Government spends heavily on capital; power situation improves; and crude oil prices are maintained at minimum of $50 per barrel.”

He explained that the regional bank, which commenced operations in in 2012 with a share capital of N5 billion shareholders has now grown to N15 billion capital, 20,000 shareholders with branches now spread to South-south, South-West and the three geographical zones of the north.

During its first year of operations, Usman said Jaiz’s deposit base was N3.5 billion but that has now grown to over N60 billion while the pioneer non-interest bank has now been listed on the stock exchange for improved visibility and credibility.

According to him, part of the initial challenges that the bank faced included lack of proper awareness, absence of enabling infrastructure environment and trained manpower.

“Now, people have come to terms with the fact that non-interest banking is not about creed but diversification of financial services industry. Many thought it would be charity or semi-charity organisation.

“Infrastructure for non-interest banking as there are no conforming instruments to invest in. The Federal Ministry of Finance promised to conclude work on sovereign sukuk by the end of first quarter of 2017 but they did not meet the target.

“Trained manpower is still a challenge because it is still a new industry”, Usman explained.

While admitting that shortage of forex within the economy has greatly affected operations of the bank because its customers needed it in their businesses, the bank boss said however, that Jaiz did not borrow in dollars and did not lend to businesses in the petroleum sector.

“In the short to medium term, the phenomenon of non-performing loan will not be an issue for our bank. We are within tolerable limits,” he declared.

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