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Saturday, 10 November 2012 00:00
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CBN urges South East entrepreneurs to set up regional banks

The Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Kingsley Moghalu, has urged entrepreneurs in the South East to set up regional banks.

Speaking at the opening of the 2012 South East Economic Summit in Enugu recently, Moghalu regretted that the entrepreneurs and governments of the zone had no interest in setting up financial institutions.

 “We have a new banking model whereby we have commercial banks, merchant banks. Then you have a specialised bank where you can now have all kinds of lending to small and medium enterprises”.

“So I urge the South East to take advantage of this new banking model. Under the commercial banking model, you can have a national bank, you can have international bank and you can have a regional licence”. “So regional banks are back and I think it is important to establish regional banks in the South East, especially with the power sector reform”.

“As the power sector reforms get to a crescendo, the whole question of the environment for business for small scale industries will become very healthy again and the question is where is the finance?” “So regional banking is a path to go.’’ The deputy governor noted that the zone was also lagging in the establishment of micro finance banks. According to him, out of the 900 microfinance banks in the country, only 164 are in the South East and in the category of unit micro finance bank.

“This means that you can only have one branch in a state.’’ Moghalu also challenged the governors from the zone to redouble their efforts in ensuring adequate security in their various states to attract foreign investors. Declaring the summit open, Gov. Peter Obi of Anambra said the documents of the last summit were what the South East governors were using in the governance of their various states.

Obi assured the participants that the outcome of the summit would be judiciously used in the interest of the zone. Earlier, the Chairman of the Summit Planning Committee, Chief Chris Obiefuna, said it would focus on the development of agriculture and industries in the zone.Obiefuna said the three-day summit would feature paper presentations from the South East governors, deputy Senate president and the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

The summit is being attended by top government officials from Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo as well as industrialists and the organised private sector.