President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, in Abuja, appealed to state governments to simplify the process of land ownership in their domains to enable more Nigerians access bank facilities for affordable homes.
Receiving the Governing Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN)-led by the chairman, Dr Uche Olowu, the President 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.
“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,” he said.
Commending the banking industry for increasing their lending in key job-creating areas such as agriculture in the last four years, the President 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.
“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, ” the President said.
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.