Players in the Nigerian banking sector have been asked to make judicious use of the benefits of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in their commitment to help the federal government fight the menace of money laundering in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari made the statement yesterday at the 10th Banking and Finance Conference held at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja with the theme: “Innovation in the Financial Services Industry: Driving Nigeria’s New Economy.”
Beyond compliance to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Terrorism Financing (AML/CFT) manual by every financial institutions in the country, President Buhari said players in the industry should also “leverage on the benefits of Information and Communication Technology to collaboratively and creatively develop strategies that would provide a lasting solution” to the problem that has assumed global dimension.
The President who was represent by the permanent secretary in the federal ministry of finance, Alh. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse said the zero-tolerance of his administration to corruption, money laundering and terrorism and its financing “would receive a significant boost if the financial services industry actively supports the government in this fight”.
Buhari maintained that time is ripe for the financial services industry to use innovative approaches to step up support to other sectors of the economy in terms of comprehensive development oriented and mutually beneficial banking service, while re-echoing that economic diversification is at the front burner of the All Progressives Congress-led government’s policy thrust.
Asserting that deregulation of the nation’s downstream oil sector has led to considerable improvements in the oil and gas value chain and made for a more cost-reflective price of petroleum products, President claimed that “this has significantly reduced the previously entrenched corruption, speculation and profiteering in the industry.”
The President also bragged that the introduction of Treasury Single Account (TSA) – a treasury management system – has yielded commendable result including entrenchment of transparency, efficiency and accountability in government finances.
“The TSA closed many loopholes which had hitherto been used by unscrupulous elements to illegally divert government resources. It has also reduced the unsatisfactory and absurd situation in which the government had on one hand kept massive idle balances in various banks and on the other hand was borrowing very expensively through the issuance of treasury bills and other instruments,” the president said.
According to president Buhari, the TSA has encouraged banks to look for innovative and more sustainable ways of sourcing funds from the retail market thus promoting greater financial inclusion.
He added that the initiative has yielded “significant results not only in terms of the amount of recovered funds but more importantly on the attendant deterrent effects”.