For Nigeria to grow its Gross Domestic Product, it would require a wider access to credit and a regulated environment for credit reporting.
This was the perspective expressed by Chief Anthony Idigbe SAN at the recently concluded one-day conference of Conference of Western Attorneys-General and African Alliance Partnership at the Lagos Business School in Lagos.
Also, the Founder of Credit Registry and a pioneer of credit reporting in Nigeria, Mr. Taiwo Ayedun has said there is an urgent need for increased access to credit for the economy and GDP is to grow. Ayedun said this at the Credit Reporting as the Foundation of Credit Infrastructure workshop organised by the, Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria (CBAN), Conference of Western Attorney General (CWAG) and AAP in collaboration with the Lagos Business School in Lagos.
Comparing Nigeria to other developed countries, he said it was important to have a good credit reporting and scoring behaviour which he said would aide consumer lending which mostly concedes GDP and economic growth.
Ayedun said: “The US GDP which is about $19 trillion, I found that mortgage and consumer spending concluded 67percent of the US GDP. And a lot of that consumer and mortgage spending is based on the credit been given by American banks. So it makes sense that if Nigeria is going to increase in GDP, it would need to be able to help banks to give more credit to Nigerians.”
“Global Credit coverage around the world shows that north America, Canada, United states Germany UK and Ireland are 100percent covered while Nigeria has only about 7.8perecnt coverage according to this survey which was done in 2017. However, There is evidence that a society where trust is well established, there is more commerce going on.”
He further added: “As more credit flows to consumers and small businesses, which would come about economic activities and the reason it has a direct correlation to GDP and economic growth is that the quantum of transactions leads to more productivity. So a consumer that has an average job if they can access credit, they would spend more and when they spend more, it enhances economic activities and the producers would have to increase production to meet the demand and ultimately leads to employment generation.”
On challenges hindering credit in Nigeria, he said interest rates are major interference to the growth of credit in Nigeria. Also Speaking to a representative of the central bank of Nigeria, present at the workshop, he urged a decrease in interest rate which he believes would substantially increase access to credit. He said: “One of the things I think would help individuals and small businesses to take loans is an affordable interest rate because if you take loans at a very high interest rate it makes it difficult to pay back.”
“Also one of the things lenders are not using banks are not yet using data analytics to make decisions yet, they still treat everyone the same way despite the fact that there are credit scores. This is a major challenge that needs to be addressed and banks need to build capacity internally to be able to do consumer credit on a very large scale.
He also maintained that with the increase in credit, policy makers need to ensure these credits are not mostly given to businesses and consumers who plan to majorly import which he said would defeat its entire purpose.
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