The Department of Banking and Finance, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, held its 6th Annual Lecture on Friday, 22nd of July, 2016 at the University Auditorium.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Joseph E. Ahaneku, FAS represented by the DVC (ACAD), Prof. Charles O. Esimone while declaring the lecture open, congratulated the Department for sustenance of its annual lecture series. He said that the Department is keeping faith with the University’s tradition of interrogating issues of National and International concern through academic discourse: public lectures, seminars, workshops with a view to proffering solutions. He welcomed dignitaries from far and wide who came to grace this year’s annual lecture. Prof. Ahaneku said that the choice of the title of the lecture “The Role of Nigerian Insurance Industry in Actualizing the Financial Inclusion vision” cannot be more appropriate than now, when effort is geared towards revitalizing the Nigerian economy. Furthermore, he noted that the importance of financial inclusion strategy in tackling unemployment is wealth creation and economic growth.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the event, and also the former first bank Professional Chair Occupant, Prof. Francis O. Okafor congratulated the Department for the Annual Lecture which he said is a practical demonstration that involves the University and the financial regulators. Speaking on the topic which touches on the financial inclusion vision, Prof. Okafor stated that the concept of inclusion had been a rallying point for reflection whenever issues of finance, politics or Government agencies come up. He opined that financial inclusion seeks to ensure that all households and businesses regardless of income level have access to and effectively use the appropriate financial services that need to improve their lives.
The Dean of the Faculty, Prof. Anayo D. Nkamnebe thanked the Vice-Chancellor for creating a platform for the academic activities in the University. He stated the Faculty’s commitment towards working with the vision and mission of the administration while he looked forward to his continuous support to the faculty.
The Guest Lecturer, who is the Commissioner for Insurance, National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) Abuja, Mohammed Kari represented by Nicholas Onwusaluaka Okpala thanked the VC and the Department for finding him worthy to be the Guest Lecturer. Dwelling on the theme, he gave the evolution, the current reforms and the restructuring in the Insurance Industry. He defined financial inclusion as an enabler to reducing poverty and boosting prosperity. The Commissioner stated the vision which is the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to sections of disadvantaged and low-income segments of society, in contrast to financial exclusion where those services are not available or affordable. He listed the benefits of inclusion as follows; it safeguards savings which can help household manage cash flow spikes, smooth consumption and building working capital. The Inclusion provides finance for small businesses or microenterprises. It also mitigates shocks and manages expenses related to unexpected events.
Speaking earlier, the head of the Department, Dr. Victor Ike Okonkwo thanked the Vice-Chancellor for his magnanimous support to the department. He also appreciated the Commissioner for insurance. According to him, the Department wants the assistance of the Commissioner to develop a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that could allow their students and staff acquire work environment experience in the insurance industry and in the commission. He also pleaded for a Professorial Chair endowment in the Department which will benefit both the Commission and the University.