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CBN’s Collaborative Postgraduate Programme: A Child Of Necessity

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On behalf of the board, management and staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, I welcome President Muhammadu Buhari   and other distinguished guests to the commissioning ceremony of the Centre of Excellence (CoE) at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, which is also designed to accommodate the Central Bank of Nigeria Collaborative Postgraduate Programme (CBN-CPP).

The Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria has played a significant role in the advancement of Nigeria’s financial sector and indeed the Central Bank of Nigeria, having produced one of its Governors, several Deputy Governors, Departmental Directors, numerous Executives and other category of staff.  With the commissioning of this Center of Excellence, students at Ahmadu Bello University will be able build on the legacies of the founding fathers of this great institution, by acquiring the requisite skills that will enable them make meaningful contributions for the betterment of our society.

The CBN has a long and proud history of involvement in the education sub-sector. This is borne out of our conviction that an educated workforce has roles to play in the advancement of the Nigerian economy and, indeed, our society in general. Our analysis of the factors underpinning the growth of successful economies, indicate that investment in education played a prominent role in driving innovation and growth in advanced and emerging economies, while also contributing to significant reductions in inequality.

As a knowledge-driven organization, the Central Bank recognizes that our ability to address evolving economic challenges, would be impacted by the quality of knowledge provided to students at our educational institutions. These observations have ultimately shaped our participation in supporting continued improvements in our institutions of higher learning.

This Collaborative Post Graduate Progamme (CPP) initiative which is our flagship intervention programme in the education sub-sector can be described as a child of necessity. It was conceived to produce a critical mass of skilled professionals that will be able to apply their knowledge towards supporting growth and continued innovation in our nation’s financial sector and the economy in general. This was against the recognition that the dearth of skilled manpower constituted a binding constraint towards making Nigeria the number one hub for economic activity in Africa.

It was part of the effort to address this challenge that the CBN, in exercise of its oversight function over the financial services industry, decided to support enhanced delivery of finance related courses; such as accounting, banking and finance, business administration, and economics at postgraduate level in Nigerian universities.  More specifically, these CoE will offer courses in specialized areas such as Forensic Accounting, Risk Management, Bank Management and Supervision, to mention a few. In the first phase of our intervention, three first-generation federal universities across the six geo-political zones namely: Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, University of Ibadan (UI), Ibadan and the University of Nigeria (UNN), Nsukka were selected. The Programme was later expanded to cover six other tertiary institutions across Nigeria, which are nearing completion.

For the CBN as an institution, we are elated that after many years of planning and eventual construction, the second Centre of Excellence is being commissioned today by His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. As a sign of his commitment towards the continued development of the Education Sector in Nigeria, this will be the second centre commissioned by Mr. President, following the commissioning of the First Center of Excellence at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Enugu Campus) on January 24, 2019.

The Centre you are about to commission comprises three buildings; a faculty block on four floors; two hostel blocks and a service building. The Faculty Building consists of a 360-seater auditorium, seven lecture theatres, six lecture rooms, and a library. It also has a computer laboratory, a Telepresence room, two cafeterias/kitchens and 32 offices.  The two-block Hostel Building can accommodate over 194 students, comprising 66 single rooms, 32 double rooms/kitchenette, seven common rooms, one gymnasium, six reading rooms, two Hall Chairman suites, two common rooms, two lounges, and 13 laundries. The Service Building has a generator house with two 1100KVA generators, two 1MVA transformers, three chillers for air conditioning and two fire suppression pumps. The external works include a gate house, fence, external landscaping, seat-out and water fountain and a parking lot.

I would like to assure you that the CBN working in close collaboration with all the participating universities, has taken steps to ensure that this investment yields considerable benefits. The curricula for the target disciplines have been reviewed and harmonized across board to ensure students are provided with the optimum level of knowledge relative to their peers in other parts of the globe. This is with a view to making the learning environment here in Zaria, globally competitive in order to attract students and lecturers from other climes.  We believe that the Centres of Excellence will help support the government’s efforts towards reducing the incidence of brain drain, and curtail the huge foreign exchange being spent on school fees for Nigerians studying in other countries.

Furthermore, this Centre and the two other centres at the University of Ibadan (which is ready for commissioning) and the University of Nigeria Enugu campus, would provide world-class training facilities for postgraduate and short professional courses for institutions in the financial services industry, including the CBN. When these centres commence operation in October this year, our expectation is that universities would take maximum advantage of these world class facilities to challenge their counterparts in London, New York and Dubai in the provision of training programs in banking and finance-related disciplines for the global business community.

Please permit me at this juncture to recognize and appreciate the role played by other stakeholders, notably, the Federal Ministry of Education, the National Universities Commission, the leadership of ABU and Messrs Afdin Nigeria Limited, the contractor, for the successful completion of this Project. Their cooperation and contribution to the realization of this Programme is very much appreciated.

– Being remarks by Governor of Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Godwin Emefiele, at the commissioning of the Centre of Excellence at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, yesterday.

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