• Friday, July 19, 2024
businessday logo


CSOs allege plot to derail banking reforms

CSOs bank recapitalisation

A coalition of civil society organisations has alleged that some influential members of the public were working to derail and frustrate the recapitalization of the banking sector by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) purposely to protect their interest in banks.

The CSOs alleged that this individuals acting through civil society organisations would make claims and allegations against some people crucial to the recapitalization programme of the CBN, especially against the current CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, Olawale Edun, the Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy.

The CSOs stated this in a press briefing on Monday in Lagos.

The CBN had in March announced a recapitalization programme for banks, the new requirement puts the minimum capital base for banks with international authorisation at N500 billion, those with national authorisation N200 and regional authorisation N50 billion.

Speaking on behalf of the CSOs, Alesta Wilcox, former chairman of the Lagos Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN), said the recapitalization had become inevitable and necessary for the interest of the banking sector and Nigerians.

He noted that some powerful individuals were not happy with reform, saying that there was plans by the group to either delay or force the CBN to drop the on-going reforms of the banking sector so as to elongate the stay of their leaders at the helm of affairs of some of the banks which required recapitalization.

“Our gathering today is to alert the federal government, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Department of State Services (DSS), the Bankers Committee and the Nigerian media to an organised plot by some vested interest within the Nigerian banking system to begin to orchestrate a diversionary gas-lighting campaign to stop the proposed banking sector reforms.

“They are using some faceless civil society organisations who will begin to make preposterous claims and allegations against some Nigerians who are critical to the success of the planned banking recapitalization programme”.

Also speaking, Bala Zaka, immediate past chairman of ICAN, Ikeja, district said the recapitalisation of the banking sector had become crucial to save the economy noting that most of the banks could not carry out their primary functions because they were not healthy.

“Nigeria cannot afford another banking sector crisis. It will throw more Nigerians into the unemployment market; this is why we are raising this alarm.

“They have secured the services of some faceless civil society and some online media to advance this gaslighting campaign.

“If indeed they care about the interest of the bank in question, why don’t they want new capital injected to save the bank.

“It is like the parent of an anaemic child rejecting blood donation even when the doctors have certified the blood to be clean,” Bala said.

Fred Nzeako, lawyer and development economic, said the banking recapitalization was long overdue, saying that several banks in the country could not perform their primary functions and where now cutting corners to raise money to pay their staff.

According to him, “Most of the banks are not healthy, that is why they cut corners often just to pay their staff”.

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

“Recapitalization programmes as you well know require forensic audit of the loan books. This is what they do not want”.

Among the CSOs at the briefing was Committee for the Protection of People’s Mandate led by Nelson Ekujumi, Centre for Anti Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), Youth Arise Advocacy among several others.