New banking, financial bill long overdue ― Senator Uba Sani
Senator Uba Sani representing Kaduna Central, in the upper chamber, stated that he is elated by the passage of his Bill for an Act to Repeal the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act 2004.
This was even as he said the new bill is long overdue.
In a statement issued by the senator on Thursday which he personally signed, Sani noted the bill marks another milestone in his legislative journey and sets the stage for the reinvention of the banking and financial services sector.
He hailed the senate for standing to be counted on the side of reinvention of the banking and other financial services sector, and by extension the strengthening of the Nigerian economy.
Recalling that the Banking and other Financial Institutions Act was last amended/reviewed in 1991, Uba Sani said it was long overdue for review and amendment.
“A robust legal framework is very critical and strategic to maintaining the health of the banking sector in order to prevent future distress.
“A stable and strengthened banking sector will refocus its activities and concentrate on providing credit access to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to help grow the economy, enhance and properly regulate electronic transactions system that will propel operational efficiency and boost customer confidence in the banking sector,” he said.
He explained that the passage of the bill which was co-sponsored by Senator Betty Apiafi was a sequel to his submission to the Senate for the consideration of the report by the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions which he chairs.
“The report recalled that the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at its sitting on Tuesday, 19th May 2020 read for the second time the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, Cap, B3, LFN, 2004 Repeal and Re-enactment Bill, 2020 and referred same to the Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions for further legislative action.
“The report detailed the objectives of the bill, the methodology adopted by the Committee in carrying out its assignment, especially the highly successful public hearing which recorded impressive attendance by key stakeholders, and the updated recommendations of the Committee.
“The Committee, after a painstaking evaluation and analysis of submissions, observations and the preponderance of views expressed in support of the proposed legislation recommended “That the Senate do approve the attached recommendations of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions on a Bill for an Act to Repeal the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, CAP, B3, LFN, 2004 and Re-enact the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, 2020,” Uba Sani explained.
The Senate on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, passed the Bill to repeal the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) CAP B3 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and to re-enact Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) CAP B3 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
The passage of the Bill passed normal legislative processes, which started with the Sponsors presenting the Bill for First Reading on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, and a Second Reading on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.
Following the debate by the Senate at the plenary, the Bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions for further legislative actions.
Wednesday’s passage of the Bill, after a clause by clause consideration by the Senate at its Plenary, followed the public hearing by the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions on Wednesday, July 15, 2020, to consider the opinions of stakeholders in the industry such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Federal Ministry of Finance, Body of Bank CEOs and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Company (NDIC). Others at the hearing were the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Financial Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN), the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance & Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) and the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFE).
In addition to strengthening the Nigerian financial system, the Bill seeks to regulate banking and businesses of other financial institutions by prohibiting the carrying on of such businesses in Nigeria except under licence and by a company incorporated in Nigeria.
The Bill also made adequate provisions for proper licensing, supervision and revocation of licenses of such institutions by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
It will be recalled that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in its presentation at the public hearing pushed for a review of the framework for managing failing institutions, a restriction remedy for successful action against the revocation of licenses in line with international standards and the creation of a Credit Tribunal.
The CBN, which was largely backed by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) and other stakeholders, also made a case for enhancement of regulatory measures for single obligor limits, transfer of significant holdings and the strengthening of the sanctions regime to make it more deterrent.
Reacting to the development, Senator Uba Sani to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan’s for his support and leadership which he said is transforming the Senate into a genuine institution for high impact and pro-people legislations.
He expressed gratitude to fellow Senators, members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, key stakeholders in the banking and other financial services sector, experts and members of the public for their inputs and support.
“It has been a worthwhile journey. A journey that has culminated in a bill that holds huge potentials for a reinvigorated and sustainable banking sector in Nigeria,” Uba Sani said.