The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has decried difficulties faced by Nigerians in accessing bank loans.
Dogara, made this known in his keynote address at a public presentation/launch of the book “Banking Reform in Nigeria” on Monday in Abuja.
He said that Nigerians were discouraged in managing their businesses as a result of their inability to access loans from banks.
He said: “I have had cause to say this before, that unless you have assets or equipment, there is no way you can take loan, or access loans from Nigerian banks to do business.
“If you are not careful in taking loans from Nigerian banks, one will just end up in the poverty gap.
“I don’t think our citizens are supposed to do their businesses with money they already have in their pockets. Businesses elsewhere are executed by loans from the banking industry in those countries.
“I don’t know why the interest rate in Nigeria is so high. What is it that we can do to lower it so that our young entrepreneurs can risk taking money from our financial institutions in order to realize their dreams.
“That has been the challenge, from the point of view of the Executive down to the Parliament, the political will to address this has not been there.”
He called on all stakeholders to join hands in ensuring improved banking institutions for better development.
“And the answer has always been that just one opinion cannot solve the issue, all hands need to work at it.
The Author of the book, Hon. Bode Ayorinde, said that the whole essence of the book “is to improve the economy by making funds available at a better pricing for the development of the economy.
Ayorinde said: “What we are saying about reforming the banking industry basically is to expand financial inclusion and adjust the pricing of our lending.
“Seriously, as an Author, l believe that the pricing of our lending is on the high side and is one of the major reasons for non-performing loans.’’
One of the book reviewers, Bismark Rewane, Managing Director, Financial Derivatives, advised that interest rates should be reduced as advised by the International Monetary Fund.
He emphasised that the reduction in the rate was necessary in order to encourage small scale businesses and revive moribund industries.