A Bill sponsored by Kaduna Central Senator, Uba Sani for an Act to Amend the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA 1991) on Tuesday passed second reading in the Senate.

Giving the hint on Wednesday, Uba Sani said, the “Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2020, seeks to update the existing Act and bring it in line with global best practices.”

The old Act, according to the Senator, was enacted about 30 years ago and has become obsolete as a lot of changes have taken place in the strategic banking sector giving rise to new and emerging challenges and opportunities.

“The challenge of COVID-19 and the need to safeguard and strengthen our banking sector has made the repeal and re-enactment of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA 1991) an urgent and strategic imperative.” He said.

He enumerated the objectives of the bill as seeking to update the laws governing Banks, Financial Institutions and Financial Services Companies as well as to enhance efficiency in the process of obtaining/granting banking licenses.

Other objectives according to the Senator, include better clarifying and accurately delineating the regulatory functions of the Central Bank of Nigeria in the financial services industry and updating and incorporating the laws for enacting, licensing and regulation of Micro-Finance Banks in the country.

The bill also aims to “regulate the activities of Financial Technology Companies (FINTECHs) and to update commensurate penalties for regulatory breaches in the financial services sector and ensure these penalties are stiff enough to serve as deterrent to potential breaches.”

One of the major indices of a nation on the path of sustainable development, Uba Sani observed, is the depth and stability of its financial sector.

“A stable financial sector will lift Nigeria to a new height in a Post-COVID19 world. 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. We must therefore take all necessary measures to ensure the stability of the financial sector.” He said.

Profoundly thanking the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and his colleagues in the Senate for their enthusiastic support for the bill, Uba Sani said: “It is my hope that the bill will be passed in record time because of its strategic importance to the stability of our financial sector.”

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