Mr. Temitope Ajayi, Senior Special Assistant to President Bola Tinubu on Media & Publicity, says the Federal Government’s planned massive consumer credit system in 2024 will favour Nigerians.
Ajayi in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos, said during electioneering, Tinubu was big and loud on the catalytic effect of consumer credit in driving economic recovery, growth and development.
According to him, the credit is to boost industrial production and a strong weapon against corruption.
The aide said that long before Tinubu declared for the presidency, he had been a big advocate of consumer credit.
He recalled that the President made consumer credit a key highlight of his remarks at the 2016 edition of the Bola Tinubu Colloquium in Lagos.
According to Ajayi, Tinubu at the colloquium, called out the Chairman of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia; his UBA counterpart, Tony Elumelu, and other bankers in attendance to begin to rethink consumer credit in Nigeria and charged them to develop good banking products in this regard.
Ajayi added that in ‘Financialism: Water from Empty Well’, a book Tinubu co-authored with Brian Browne, several pages were devoted to how consumer credit could propel unprecedented growth and shared prosperity.
“To demonstrate his absolute commitment to achieving this objective and a major campaign promise clearly enunciated in his Renewed Hope Agenda for a better Nigeria Tinubu set in motion the process to entrench consumer credit as one of the building blocks of a virile and productive economy.
“Against this backdrop, the Presidential Council on Industrial Revitalisation, on Dec. 20, 2023, just before the Christmas holiday, established a Technical Working Group (TWG) to develop the needed framework to enhance consumer credit in Nigeria,” he said.
He said the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, also recognised the importance of consumer credit and its linkage to market efficiencies.
“An efficient consumer credit system is a highly essential component of successful economies, as it works to improve market efficiencies and fill in gaps in consumption and productivity.
“It provides consumers immediate access to credit, allowing them to purchase ahead of ability.
“The absence of a well-structured consumer credit system has been a significant impediment to financial inclusion and economic prosperity,” Ajayi quoted the minister as saying.
Speaking further, Ajayi recounted that, at the inaugural meeting of the TWG on consumer credit system, the government lamented how the absence of consumer credit had shrunk the productive capacity of the economy and hampered financial inclusion.
He said the meeting had in attendance, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, and Uzoka-Anite.
“Given the current state of the economy and the strong push by the government to revamp it, the setting up of the technical working group by the presidential council on industrial revitalisation can be said to be timely and strategic.
“The technical working group among other things, will draw up a working proposal and implementation method on how the country can achieve a viable institutional and regulatory framework that will significantly open up the consumer credit landscape,” he said.
Ajayi quoted Uzoka-Anite, as saying that Nigeria had numerous financial institutions and credit schemes but many Nigerians still faced substantial hurdles in accessing credit.
He said this was due to stringent eligibility criteria, high interest rates, identity-related challenges, fragmented data sources for proof of livelihood and financial worth, lack of awareness or understanding of credit processes, and inadequate credit available for lending.
“To make sure the President’s agenda was established on a solid ground and for seamless take-off of the credit scheme, the government has brought together, various ministries and agencies of government that have roles to play to work collaboratively for a successful execution,” he said.
He said the technical working group drew its members from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM).
He said that membership was also drawn from the National Institute of Credit Administration (NICA) the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and the Bank of Industry (BOI) amongst others.
“It must be said that because of the importance attached to the scheme by President Tinubu, the TWG set for itself, a five-month timeline to achieve its objectives.
“This means that by May 2024, a comprehensive, life-changing and an all-encompassing consumer credit system will be launched,” he said.
Ajayi said that Uzoka-Anite, who is the vice chairman of the presidential council on industrial revitalisation had spoken on the specific objectives and the tasks before her committee.
He said that these included increasing consumer credit uptake in Nigeria, enabling a sustainable credit system for the country in line with global best practices.
He said that it also included enhancing the supporting infrastructure (technology, data, financial institutions, global partners) to boost credit operations and equip players in the industry.
“As he declared in his New Year National Broadcast, President Tinubu committed himself to removing every obstacle that impedes economic recovery and competitiveness of the business environment.
“In the new year speech, he also assured that his administration will race against time to deliver necessary reforms that will make life better for all Nigerians.
“This move by the government to recalibrate consumer credit system is one important reform that will give a new lease of life to Nigerians to be able to own the consumer goods they desire without the burden of having to pay all at once.”
He said the strategy would also be calibrated to promote local industries and boost productivity among Nigerians toward achieving the lofty economic growth and development promises of the Tinubu administration.
Ajayi said that Nigerians would be encouraged to patronise local goods and services.
“This way, the velocity of credit will be enhanced and the dreams of President Tinubu for the transformative power of credit and capital will be achieved,” he added.