It is indeed my delight to be in your midst today on the occasion of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) Special Day at the on-going 12th Abuja International Trade Fair. I feel highly honoured to welcome our distinguished guests, particularly our revered royal fathers, government officials, captains of industry, representatives of deposit money banks, members of the academia, civil society groups, gentlemen of the press and other key stakeholders who have created time out of your busy schedules to be a part of the NDIC showcase at this year’s trade fair.
I wish to felicitate with the President and the entire Council Members of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture for your commitment towards sustaining the Abuja International Trade Fair as an annual event and for making this year’s fair a huge success. Permit me to observe that the theme of this year’s fair: “Returning Nigeria to the Path of Sufficiency Through Non-Oil Exports” is a unique one as it aligns with the commitment and determination by government at all levels to put Nigeria back on the path of sustainable growth and development through diversification of the economy. It is on this note that I would like to commend the thoughtfulness of the Chamber’s Executive for bringing this theme to the front burner of national discourse.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is important for me at this juncture to underscore that the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has been participating in major trade fairs across the country since 2008 not only to showcase its landmark achievements but also to enhance public awareness on its core mandate of protecting bank deposits as well as present its contributions to financial system stability. The Corporation also uses the trade fair platform to promote financial literacy and financial inclusion among both the banked and unbanked segments of our population, to appreciate the essence of imbibing the saving culture especially given that the NDIC is responsible for protecting such deposits in the banking system.
Mr. President, our royal fathers, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, since NDIC commenced operations in 1989, the Corporation has been creditably discharging its core mandate of deposit guarantee, banking supervision, failure resolution and bank liquidation to the expectations of stakeholders.
It is pertinent to note that in a bid to address the increasing customers patronage and huge deposit base, the Corporation has, over the years, progressively increased its maximum deposit insurance coverage (MDIC) per depositor per bank to protect depositors in the unlikely event of bank failure as well as to deepen public confidence in the banking sector. The coverage had risen from ₦50,000.00 in 1989 to ₦500,000 per depositor per deposit money bank (DMBs) and non-interest banking institutions (NIBIs). This maximum insured limit of ₦500,000.00 was recently extended to depositors of primary mortgage bank (PMBs) in view of the growth in customer base and deposit structure. It is worthy to note that the NDIC also extended deposit insurance coverage since 2009 to microfinance banks (MFBs) with ₦100,000.00 which was increased in 2010 to ₦200,000.00 per depositor per MFB. However, with the CBN license of mobile money operators (MMOs) in 2015, the NDIC extended deposit insurance coverage to subscribers of the scheme through Pass-Through Deposit Insurance with maximum insured sum of ₦500,000.00 per subscriber in all the 23 MMOs in the country. It is instructive to note that the maximum deposit insurance coverage in all deposit taking institutions in Nigeria adequately covers over 95 percent of depositors in the banking system in the event of a bank failure.
It is worthwhile to recount that the NDIC had recorded other landmark achievements in the recent times some of which are mentioned here. The NDIC secured a landmark judgement to the tune of N556,493,034.16 in favour of depositors of Lead Merchant Bank Limited (in-liquidation) which would be paid parri passu to the depositors and other creditors of the defunct bank. The Corporation has established The NDIC Academy which was certified as a world class training and learning centre by the Council of Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) for the African sub-region on deposit insurance, management, banking and finance disciplines. The Corporation has equally engaged seven universities to commence specialised learning on two (2) courses in DIS to prepare graduates of management and financial related discipline on DIS as veritable part of financial safety-net across the globe.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, permit me to use this auspicious occasion to draw your attention to the recent emergence of digital currencies on the global financial space as a means of payment, commercial transactions and on-line investments operated by distributed ledgers and encryption. As the name implies, they are digital/virtual electronic representation of value that is neither issued nor managed by any sovereign authority, central bank or any other public monetary and regulatory authority. However, they are recognized by private subscribers and accepted by natural or legal persons as a means of payment and can be transferred, stored or traded electronically but highly vulnerable to fraudulent practices and illicit transfer of funds. They are issued by private developers and denominated in their own unit of account and not necessarily attached to a Fiat Currency. Popular digital currencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Ethereum Classic, etc. The funds in the pool does not enjoy sovereign deposit insurance coverage though the operators claimed self-regulation and conventional insurance.
However, in view of the growing popularity which the phenomenon is gaining in Nigeria, it has become important to state that digital currencies are not authorized by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and please note, they are not insured by the NDIC. For the avoidance of doubt, any person or groups of persons who invest or trade in them do so at their own risks. There are safety concerns associated with digital currencies, which are mainly the basic reasons why regulatory/supervisory authorities in many countries are seriously concerned about.
The NDIC in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are closely monitoring the developments in the digital and virtual currencies operations and also studying their implications for financial system stability with a view to designing proactive policies that would insulate the Nigerian financial system from any negative effects associated with such inventions.
At this juncture, I am pleased to announce an additional feature to our participation in the Abuja and other trade fairs with the setting up of complaint desk where all depositors who are yet to claim their trapped deposits in any of the closed banks can file their claims directly. This is to save such depositors of time and stress involved in visiting our various offices to file such claims for reimbursement.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, my address will be incomplete without inviting the attention of the general public, particularly people in the informal sector to the dangers associated with keeping large sums of money at home. The issue cannot be over emphasized bearing in mind that the Nigerian economy is still largely cash-based amidst an environment associated with widespread insecurity. The public is enjoined to have confidence in the banking sector as the Corporation continually implements strong regulatory oversight through its mandate of banking supervision to ensure the safety and security of depositors while understanding the benefits and limitations of deposit insurance scheme as a risk minimizer.
Before concluding this address, I would also like to restate NDIC’s commitment to consumer protection in the banking system. To this effect, the Corporation’s 24-hour NDIC Help Desk with a toll free telephone line: 080063424357 is ever up and running. Depositors and other stakeholders are therefore advised to make effective use of the toll free telephone line in making their enquiries or laying genuine complaints on sharp practices noticed on their accounts to the Corporation. For further information, members of the public can also visit our website: www.ndic.gov.ng which has been integrated with other popular social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.
I wish to express our profound gratitude to the President and Council Members of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce, our highly respected royal fathers, distinguished guests and gentlemen of the press who took time out of their very busy schedules to be with us at this year’s NDIC Special Day. May the Almighty God grant you all journey mercies back to your respective destinations.
I thank you all for your attention.
UMARU IBRAHIM, FCIB, mni
MANAGING DIRECTOR/CHIEF EXECUTIVE,
NIGERIA DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2017