The Guardian

As Tinubu shows moves to accelerate economic recovery with consumer finance

As the new year 2024 begins on a positive note, Nigerians can look forward to a great year economically as the Federal Government plans to launch a major consumer finance system in the country.

President Bola Tinubu, while seeking a mandate from Nigerians during the last election cycle, touted the catalytic effect of consumer credit as a powerful weapon against corruption, promoting economic recovery, growth and development, promoting industrial production and fighting corruption. argued.

Long before he was proclaimed president of Nigeria, President Tinubu was a passionate advocate of consumer finance. He made it a key highlight of his remarks at the Bola Tinubu Colloquium held in Lagos in 2016, criticizing Zenith Bank Chairman Jim Obia. His UBA counterpart, Tony Elumelu, and other bankers began rethinking consumer credit in Nigeria and challenged them to develop better banking products in this regard.

The book he co-authored with Brian Brown, Financialism: Water from an Empty Well, devotes several pages to how consumer credit can drive unprecedented growth and shared prosperity. . Demonstrating absolute determination to achieve this goal and key election promises articulated in the New Hopes Agenda for a Better Nigeria, President Tinubu is committed to ensuring consumer credit is healthy. It began the process of establishing itself as one of the building blocks of a productive economy. .

Against this backdrop, the Presidential Council on Industrial Revitalization, on December 20, 2023, just before the Christmas holidays, convened a technical working group to develop the necessary framework to strengthen consumer credit in Nigeria. was installed.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Doris Uzoka Anite said the Tinubu-led government recognized the importance of consumer credit and its link to market efficiency.

He said: “An efficient consumer credit system improves market efficiency and increases consumption and productivity by providing consumers with instant access to credit and allowing them to purchase ahead of their capacity. “It is a very essential element of economic success because it works to bridge the gap.” .

At the first meeting of the Technical Working Group on Consumer Credit Systems, which included the Minister of Finance, Coordinating Minister of the Economy Wale Edun and Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Bosun Tijani, Uzoka Anite said that the lack of a Technical Working Group on Consumer Credit Systems, I lamented. Consumer credit was shrinking the economy's productive capacity and hindering financial inclusion.

“The lack of a properly structured consumer credit system is a significant obstacle to financial inclusion and economic prosperity,” declared the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.

Considering the current economic situation and the government's strong push for economic reform, the establishment of a technical working group by the Presidential Industrial Revitalization Council is timely and strategic. The Technical Working Group will, among other things, develop practical proposals and implementation methods on how the country can achieve a workable institutional and regulatory framework that will significantly expand the consumer credit landscape.

According to Uzoka Anite, although Nigeria has a large number of financial institutions and credit systems, strict eligibility criteria, high interest rates, identity challenges, and fragmented data sources to prove livelihoods and economic worth make many difficult to access. of Nigerians continue to face significant hurdles in accessing credit. , lack of awareness or understanding of the credit process, and insufficient credit available for financing. To ensure that President Tinubu's policy is established on a solid foundation and the credit scheme is seamlessly launched, the government will bring together the various government ministries with roles to work together towards successful implementation. did.

The Technical Working Group brings together members from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and National Institute of Credit Management (NICA). Masu. , the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), and the Bank of Industry (BOI). It must be said that as President Tinubu attached great importance to this plan, the TWG set a five-month timetable to achieve that goal. This means a comprehensive, life-changing consumer credit system will be launched by May 2024.

Mr. Uzoka Anite, Vice-Chairman of the Presidential Council on Industrial Revitalization, addressed the committee on specific goals and challenges, including: Strengthen supporting infrastructure (technology, data, financial institutions, global partners) to strengthen credit operations and equip industry players. ”

According to the Vice-Chairman, in fulfilling its core mission, TWG is a comprehensive company that leverages the experience, knowledge and expertise of the credit ecosystem to understand problems within the industry and define viable solutions. A consultative approach was adopted. they.

As declared on national television in the new year, President Tinubu was committed to removing all obstacles to economic recovery and the competitiveness of the business environment. In his New Year's address, he also vowed that his administration would race against time to bring about the necessary reforms to improve the lives of all Nigerians. This move by the government to recalibrate the consumer credit system is one of the key reforms that will give new life to Nigerians to own the consumer goods they desire without the burden of paying for them all at once.

The strategy will also promote local industry and increase the productivity of Nigerians towards achieving the Tinubu administration's promise of high economic growth and development, as Nigerians will be encouraged to patronize local goods and services. It will be adjusted to increase it. In this way, the velocity of credit will increase and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s dream of the transformative power of credit and capital will be achieved.

Ajayi is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Public Affairs.


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