Credit Bureau stresses need for ‘unique identifier’

Salamatu Ejembi, Lagos

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L-R: Aisha Abubakar, Hon. Minister of State For Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. ‘Tunde Popoola, Chairman, Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria (CBAN) and Mrs. Elizabeth Fasoranti, Deputy Director, Banking Supervision Department, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),Lagos at the 5th National Credit Reporting Conference held at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos on Thursday.

The Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria, CBAN, has reemphasised on the need for Nigeria to deliberately place utmost importance to unique identifier.

According to the Chairman, CBAN, Mr. Tunde Popoola, the country stands to benefit a lot if it successfully implements a unique form of identification for its citizens.

In his welcome address at the 5th National Credit Reporting Conference held in Lagos, Popoola said, “with one generally accepted form of identification, it will be difficult for anyone to be a serial creditor as each customer’s data will be synchronised with that unique identifier, thereby making it easy to access people’s credit history.”

CBAN Chairman explained that, “The choice of this year’s theme ‘EXPANDING THE FRONTIERS OF ACCESS TO CREDIT IN NIGERIA’ was influenced by the desire to address the perennial challenge of limited access to credit by the most strategic economic agents in Nigeria, namely: consumers and small businesses. The conference aims to explore how credit bureaus, as custodians of credit information from both financial and non-financial sectors can be the catalyst for exponential growth in credit provided to MSMEs and consumers to oil the wheel of economic growth in Nigeria”.

‘Thinking out of the box’
The Honourable Minister of State, Federal Ministry Of Industry, Trade And Investment,  Aisha Abubakar, said, “the theme of the conference underscores the need to bring together stakeholders to discuss and think outside the box on the importance of credit infrastructure, credit policy guidelines, credit legislation credit accessibility, credit security, credit trust and  so on, and the role that credit bureaus can play as the use of credit information is adopted by both financial and non – financial institutions.”

She further explained that, “This would potentially enable Nigerian businesses particularly MSMEs to thrive and create jobs for many more in the labour market.  It would also impact positively on the Nigerian citizenry by giving them an identity by which they can access other financial services and become more informed about investment opportunities that can potentially reduce inequality between the rich and the poor.”

Abubakar said,  “It is worth noting that the elements of credit information should not be limited to financial data alone as the provision of alternative data by non –financial institutions is relevant in assessing the creditworthiness of those who require credit”.

L-R: Mrs. Mobolanle Adesanya, MD/CEO, FirstCentral Credit Bureau Limited; Mrs. Jameelah Sharrieff-Ayedun, MD/CEO, CR Services Credit Bureau Plc; Hajia Aisha Abubakar, Hon. Minister of State For Industry, Trade and Investment; Mr. ‘Tunde Popoola, Chairman, Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria (CBAN); Mrs. Elizabeth Fasoranti, Deputy Director, Banking Supervision Department, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),Lagos and Mrs. Nkeiru Asiegbu, Deputy Director, Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), during the Conference.

The Director, Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, represented by Deputy Director, Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Nkiru Aseigbu in her speech titled ‘The Tole of Financial Institutions in Expanding the Frontiers of Access to Credit in Nigeria’, said, “Financial institutions are the largest warehouses of any financial system that mobilise idle funds from corporate, individual and government and channel these funds to the needed areas”.

The Director said, “with credit reporting, we would be able to ensure safe, sound and sane financial system, ensure adequate financial inclusion, access to credit, good credit culture and inclusive economic growth in Nigeria “.

In his keynote address, the Director Banking Supervision Department of the CBN, Ahmed Abdullahi, who was represented by Mrs. E. O. Fasorantin said, “Access to credit is crucial to economic growth and considered to be the dynamic force to driving private sector development “. 

Abdullahi stated that in Nigeria, more than 70 per cent of Small and Medium Scale Enterprise SMSEs have limited or no access to credit due to information gap by lenders’ insufficient data for taking informed decisions.

Other participants of the event include; The Managing Director, Accenture Financial Services, Mrs. Toluleke Adenmosun, MD/CEO Trustbond Mortgage Bank/ Chairman, Mortgage Banks Association of Nigeria, Mr. Adeniyi Akinlusi; Chief Risk Officer, First Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Segun Alebiosu, MD/CEO, CR Services Credit Bureau PLC and Mrs. Jameelah Sharrieff-Ayedun.

Sammie Idika