1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The reforms in the financial system in Nigeria which heightened with the 1986 deregulation, affected the level of financial deepening of the country and the level relevance of the financial system to economic development. Nnanna and Dogo (1998) However, the rapid globalization of the financial markets since then and the increased level of integration of the Nigerian financial system to the global system have generated interest on the level of financial deepening that has occurred.
The financial system comprises various institutions, instruments and regulators. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (2003) the financial system refers to the set of rules and regulations and the aggregation of financial arrangements, institutions, agents, that interact with each other and the rest of the world to foster economic growth and development of a nation. According to Nzotta (2004:169) the financial system serve as a catalyst to economic development through various institutional structures. The systems vigorously seeks out and attracts the reservoir of savings and idle funds and allocate same to entrepreneurs, businesses, households and government for investments projects and other purposes with a view of returns. This forms the basis for economic development.
The financial system plays a key role in the mobilization and allocation of
Savings for productive, use provide structures for monetary management, the basis for managing liquidity in the system. It also assists in the reduction of risks faced by firms and businesses in their productive processes, improvement of portfolio diversification and the insulation of the economy from the vicissitudes of international economic changes. Additionally, the system provides linkages for the different sectors of the economy and encourages a high level of specialization expertise and economies of scale. Nzotta further contends that the financial system, additionally, provides the necessary environment for the implementation of various economic policies of the government which is intended to achieve non-inflationary growth, exchange rate stability, balance of payments equilibrium foreign exchange management and high levels of employment.
The Nigerian financial system can be broadly divided into two sub-sectors, the informal and formal sectors. The informal sector has no formalized institutional framework, no formal structure of rates and comprises the local money lenders, thrifts, savings and loans associations and all forms of ‘esusu’ associations. According to Olofin and Afandigeh (2008:48) this sector is poorly developed, limited in reach and not integrated into the formal financial system. Its exact size and effect on the economy remain unknown and a matter of speculation. The formal sector, on the other hand, could be clearly distinguished into the money and capital market institutions. The money market is the short-term end of the market and institutions here deal on short term instruments and funds. The capital market encompasses the institutions that deal on long-term funds and securities.
The regulatory institutions in the financial system are the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria as the apex institution in the money market, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as the apex institution in the capital market, Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, (NDIC), National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and the National Pensions Commission (PENCOM).
Financial reforms have been a regular feature of the Nigerian financial system. The reforms have evolved in response to the challenges posed by developments in the system such as systemic crisis, globalization, technological innovation, and financial crisis. The reforms often seek to act proactively to strengthen the system, prevent systemic crisis, strengthen the market mechanism, and ethical standards. Financial...