Buhari wants states to simplify land ownership process

• as CIBN backs FG’s border closure

President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to state governments to simplify the process of land ownership in their domains to enable more Nigerians access bank facilities for affordable homes.

He made the plea when he received the Governing Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) led by the chairman, Dr Uche Olowu, at the presidential villa, Abuja on Friday.

He expressed concern on some challenges, such as land and other collateral related issues, hindering the banking industry’s ability to lend to the real sector.

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A statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), quoted him as saying: “As a Government, we are also facing such challenges as part of our various affordable housing programmes.  But I am urging State Governments to assist by simplifying and rationalising land matters.”

The president commended the banking industry for increasing their lending in key job-creating areas such as agriculture in the last four years.

He welcomed their collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria in this regard, noting that the partnership had been a “key anchor” to the food security programme of his administration.

“We can only feed ourselves by deploying capital to the right areas. I implore the banking community to keep this trend up, ” he said.

Affirming that the banking sector is critical to the economic development of any society, President Buhari said he is proud that Nigeria has the most vibrant, creative and innovative banking sector in Africa.

The president further said: “Nigerian bankers have not only proved themselves in Nigeria alone but across the entire continent and in other parts of the world.

“I am proud when I visit African countries and see posters or branches of Nigerian banks. I will ask all your members to continue to be great Ambassadors of Nigeria as you expand within Africa and beyond.”

In his remarks, Dr Olowu expressed gratitude to President Buhari for the plethora of interventions to drive inclusive growth in the country, through initiatives such as Anchor Borrowers Programme, the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, and diligent progress in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, among others.

The chairman declared the Institute’s support for the current policy by the Federal Government to close Nigeria’s land borders.

He said the policy would protect and promote Made-in-Nigeria products as well as prevent the country from being used as a dumpsite for substandard products and other illicit cross border activities.

The Institute’s chairman also raised topical issues affecting the Nigerian economy especially the banking sector.

Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, Olowu three his weight behind the federal government’s closure of the nation’s borders.

According to him, the measure would stimulate local industry and check arms smuggling.

He said: “The border policy is a clincher policy for us because it checks arms smuggling, support local industry to grow because that is the way to grow and, of course, infiltration of small arms have been curbed.

“If you look at the statistics, even in the petroleum sector, that policy has also tried to reduce the level of subsidy that has happened in the economy so we commended him (president).”

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