Non-Interest bank stakeholders call for closer monitoring of impact of COVID-19 on financial sector

 By Prudence Ijah, Abuja

The implementation of effective fiscal and monetary policy measures is critical towards addressing the unexpected impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the financial system.

 Managing Director of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Umaru Ibrahim stated this in a speech delivered on his behalf by Galadima Y. Gana, Director, Insurance Surveillance Department (ISD), NDIC at the Webinar titled “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Banking System with a Special Focus on Non-Interest Financial Institutions’ (NIFIs)” organised by the NDIC in collaboration with the Islamic Financial Service Board (IFSB).

He described the Webinar event as a crucial platform for stakeholders and regulators in the industry to examine and analyse the issues affecting operations in the Non-Interest Banking sector that have been impacted by the pandemic with a view to proffering effective solutions and interventions to ensure stability of the financial system.

In a statement signed by the Director, Communications and Public Affairs Sunday Oluyemi and made available to Frontline News in Abuja, Gana explained that the aim of the Webinar is to bring critical stakeholders in the Non-Interest Banking sector together, among other issues, evaluate the Central Bank of Nigeria’s interventions in the sector in terms of enhancing financial inclusion, gain insights into consumer behaviour in light of the recent Sukuk Issuance as well as highlight global interventions such as the Islamic Development Bank’s Social Welfare Sukuk.

The Secretary General of the IFSB, Dr. Bello Lawal Danbatta, disclosed that since its establishment in 2003, the IFSB has remained committed to the implementation of prudent regulations to promote financial system stability for Non Interest Financial Institutions (NIFIs).

He said in light of the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the financial system, it is critical for industry operators to strictly monitor their Credit, Market and Operation Risks for operational resilience as well as come up with a coordinated policy response for both domestic and international financial institutions.

Participants at the webminar tabled their concerns and recommendations in a communique issued at the end of the Webinar.

Highlights of the recommendations include the need for regulators, especially the CBN to address the Liquidity challenges faced by the NIFIs on investible instruments particularly short-term investible windows; the adoption of Social Financing in collaboration with religious bodies that have the mandate to collect zakat (Islamic obligatory charity) and protect Waqf (Islamic charitable endowment)  that could be channeled towards projects targeted at poverty alleviation; the extension of Sukuk to include the corporate private sector and the use of its proceeds in developmental initiatives such as healthcare; and the establishment of Non-Interest Microfinance Banks to target the financially excluded and underserved  segments of the population in line with the financial inclusion drive of the Federal Government.


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