Recapitalisation: CSOs allege  Banks’ counter plans due to fear of forensic audit

Recapitalisation: CSOs allege  Banks' counter plans due to fear of forensic audit
Yemi Cardoso - CBN Governor
Recapitalisation: csos allege  banks' counter plans due to fear of forensic audit
Yemi cardoso – cbn governor

A Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has alerted the Federal Government and  CBN to an organised plot by some vested interests to orchestrate a diversionary campaign to stop the proposed banking sector reforms to avoid forensic audits of banks.

The coalition is made up of the Constitutional Rights Advocate Initiative, Cadrell Advocacy Center, Movement for Nigeria Restructuring, Center for Social & Economic Rights, Committee for the Protection of People’s Mandates and Commonwealth Institute of Advanced & Professional Studies

The spokesperson of the coalition, Mr Nelson Ekujumi, made this known at a news conference on Monday in Lagos.

BRANDPOWER reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on March 29, said it had directed commercial banks with international authorisation to increase their capital base to N500 billion and national banks to N200 billion.

According to the acting CBN director, commercial banks with national licences must meet a N200 billion threshold, while those with regional authorisation are expected to achieve a N50 billion capital floor.

The Banking Sector Recapitalisation Programme is a regulatory initiative of CBN that requires banks to increase their minimum paid-in common equity capital to a specified amount according to their licence category and authorisation within a specified period of time.

According to Ekujumi, who is also the Convener, Committee for the Protection of People’s Mandate, some Nigerians were planning to use faceless civil society organisations because these people do not want the fresh injection of capital into the banks.

The spokesperson alleged  the group intended to delay or force CBN to drop the ongoing reforms of the banking sector.

This, he said, was to elongate the stay of their Pay Masters at the helm of affairs at some of the ”sick” banks that required the recapitalisation the most.

Ekujumi noted that recapitalisation programmes required forensic audit of the loan books, saying that this was what they did not want.

He said: “We are a coalition of civil society organisations. Our role is to act as watchdogs to government in overarching interest of the Nigerian people.

“We have followed the various economic policy reform programmes of the present administration, we have at different times expressed our views on them.

“These faceless groups were planning to use some faceless civil society organisations who will begin to make preposterous claims and allegations against some Nigerians who critical to the success of the planned banking recapitalisation programme.

“We also have credible intelligence that they intend to make some unsubstantiated allegations against the current CBN Governor, Mr Olayemi Cardoso; Mr Olawale Edun, the Finance Minister and some investors in the banking sector.

“What is their goal?

“It is to either delay or force the Central Bank of Nigeria to drop the ongoing reforms of the banking sector so as to elongate the stay of their Pay Masters at the helm of affairs at some of the sick banks which require the recapitalisation most.”

He said: “It is germane to say that some of the banks which require the recapitalisation most are the very ones in need of the injection of capital off the back of the recapitalization programme.

“However, these vested interests would rather leave the banks in their sick state so as to prevent the truth from being unearthed.”

Ekujumi said: “If indeed they cared about the interest of the banks in question, why don’t they want new capital injected to save the banks?”.

He likened the allegation to that of a parent of an anaemic child rejecting blood donation even when the doctors certified the blood to be clean.

The spokesperson said one of the critical pillars upon which the economic reforms agenda of the Federal Government was anchored was the proposed banking sector reforms.

He said Nigeria could not afford another banking sector crisis which would throw more Nigerians into the unemployment market.

Ekujumi said this was why they were raising the alarm, adding that they had secured the services of some faceless civil society and online media to advance this gaslighting campaign.

He said in the case of one of the banks, the ages of some of the Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) would shock the Nigerian public.

According to him, they date back to the 1970s with interest capitalised running into decades.

“But, thankfully, there has been a successful sale of the debt to a company as it is done the world over,” he said.