This is Money

Highlighting the need to imbibe savings culture

by HOPE MOSES-ASHIKE

November 8, 2017 | 12:53 am
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Banks, experts and financial analysts took turn to mark the World Savings Day last week October 31, 2017, highlighting the need to imbibe savings culture, especially among youth.

The World Savings Day is an annual event instituted to increase the public’s awareness on the importance of savings for both modern economies and individuals all around the world. It is a day observed in most countries on October 31st to promote the importance of savings and restore people’s confidence in banks.

Ecobank Nigeria senior staff last week embarked on tutoring students in various secondary schools across the country on various ways of savings to mark the 2017 World Savings Day.

At Government Girls Unity College, Damaturu, Yobe State, managing director of the Bank, Charles Kie who was speaking on the theme: “Our future starts with savings”, emphasized the need for students and youths to imbibe savings culture, stating that it would enhance their financial independence and empowerment in life.

Kie who was represented by Area Manager, North East, Umar Bako mentored the students on how to manage their resources effectively; benefits of saving for the future and various financial techniques, adding that it was part of the Bank’s contribution to safeguarding the future of the younger generation.

According to him, “Savings is very important for you. It does not only help you to be financially independent but also secures your future. You can save to pay your school fees and even pay your way through higher institutions. It is advisable that you open your account now that you are still young.”

Cross section of students and staff of the school lauded Ecobank for choosing the school for the programme. They admitted that the lecture have imparted them positively.

High point of the event saw Ecobank offering gift to Suhayya Suleiman Dan azumi, the overall best student in the school.

In her article on “The Future Begins With Savings,”Debola Osibogun, President Consumer Awareness and Financial Enlightenment Initiative (CAFEi), a nongovernmental organization focused on consumer awareness and financial enlightenment, said economic factors such as the rising cost of living, poverty, high unemployment rates and pressure to take on family debt make it difficult to put money aside.

“At first, cultivating a savings habit may seem tough, however overtime, the benefits far outweigh the limitations”, Osibogun said.

It has been widely reported that youth generally do not see saving as a priority earlier on in life.  More specifically, questions which may typically be asked by secondary and higher education students may be – Why save when I still have many years left ahead of me? Why save when I am still dependent on my parents or have little to no income? The notion of savings may be further challenged by reports which state that in particular regions of the country, youths lack adequate access to financial services such as savings accounts according to EFinA, 2016.

Sterling Bank deepens public awareness on Non-Interest Banking

In a bid to further deepen public awareness and understanding of alternative finance or Non-Interest Banking (NIB) in Nigeria, Sterling Bank Plc, your one-customer bank, recently organised a public lecture on “Reducing Poverty and Unemployment through Non-Interest Banking.”

Seasoned scholars and policy makers on various aspects of NIB presented papers and made valuable contributions during discussions at the public lecture which held at the Syrian Club on Ribabu Road in Ikoyi, Lagos. Also in attendance were hundreds of participants from the Muslim community.

Tajudeen Yusuf, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Business Administration, University of Lagos remarked that the major challenge facing the concept of NIB in Nigeria today is ignorance. He noted that the recent raising of N100 billion Sukuk Fund by the Federal Government for road construction purposes will help to reduce the lack of knowledge and enhance the importance of NIB as a major source of finance.

Yusuf disclosed that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo recently told members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) that the recent adoption of NIB by the Federal Government to finance infrastructure in the country was not meant to Islamise Nigeria.

Delivering a paper entitled, “Understanding the practicability of maqasid al-Shariah through Non-Interest Banking,” Abdur-Razzaq Abdul-Mojeed Alaro, Associate Professor of Islamic Law, University of Ilorin, said the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) in section 43 (1) states that for an Islamic bank to be established, it must require the express permission of the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He explained that the term maqasid al-Shariah refers to one of the foundational goals of the Islamic faith which in this context is zakat (charity tax).

Alaro said the total assets of alternative finance globally is already more than $2 trillion with more than 80 percent of it belonging to Islamic banking alone. He added that global Islamic banking assets witnessed significant growth consistently for years at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 17 percent.

Alaro who also doubles as a member of the CBN FRACE noted that the global profit pool of NIB is set to triple by 2019, adding that despite the impressive current and projected growth estimates, it is believed that the operations of NIB were not based on the foundational goals of the Islamic faith.

Recognising FITC Newman’s contribution in banking sector

For her contribution in ensuring and maintaining standard in the banking and financial services industry, ), Lucy Newman, managing director/CEO, Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC was on last week inducted into the 2017 Class of the Money Management Series (MMS), Women of Fortune Hall of Fame (WoFHoF) Initiative in Lagos.

The Chairperson Board of Trustees of the WoFHoF Initiative, Margaret Orakwusi, said Newman was recognised for the positive impact she is making in the FITC by building capacity and skills for leaders and other key players in the financial services industry. She said the group will continue to celebrate her as a shining example of women who have remained role models and great achievers in their chosen fields against all odds.

Presenting the award to Newman, President, Women Arise for Change Initiative, Joe Okei-Odumakin described her as a valuable and career-driven woman. “As a chief trainer of the financial-focused institute, Lucy Newman believes in adding value to employees and clients. She motivates women to build successful careers and move from background players to frontrunners in the development of the society,” she said.

Speaking on the theme: Options and Strategies in Building and Developing Financial Capacity in Women , Newman said there is need to promote financial literacy among children and give them financial education early in life.

With over 29 years working experience, of which about 90 per cent is from the financial services sector, Newman said she benefitted from mentoring through the years, and also had the privilege of several layers of being a mentor to others.

She said that financial capacity for women is increasingly becoming a priority for policy makers, because it is recognized to contribute to the financial stability, financial inclusion, and to the effective functioning of financial markets, including economic sustainability of the nuclear and extended family units.

Newman also emphasized on the need for integrity in discharging one’s responsibilities. “There is no fraud linked to whatever I have today. I also learn a lot from my mentors,” she said.

According to Newman, she said that the Nigeria Government has taken several commendable steps in developing financial capacity for women.

She disclosed that the Federal Government, had set aside N1.6 billion for women empowerment programme called the National Women Empowerment Fund, (NAWEF), part of government’s  Social Investment Intervention Programme known as the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).

The GEEP is a micro-credit programme for men and women, boys and girls; and out of the GEEP fund, a sum of N1.6 billion, has been set aside exclusively for women. NAWEF and GEEP are financial inclusion and microcredit programmes.

She commended the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) financial literacy and inclusion policies for women, by implementing several projects to foster financial inclusion in women. “The CBN even went further to develop the Nigerian financial literacy framework (NFLF). The NFLF aims to promote financial literacy to drive the National financial inclusion policy that will ultimately promote economic growth,” she said.

“The bottom-line as a business case, is that building financial capacity of women with strategic and deliberate actions that are measureable and sustained over time, has a very high correlation to Human Development Index, which is as a measure of a composite statistic (composite index) of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development,” she said.

HOPE MOSES-ASHIKE

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by HOPE MOSES-ASHIKE

November 8, 2017 | 12:53 am
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