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Friday, 08 December 2023 02:54

“Where are the dollars?” - Sanusi Asks NNPC To Account For Dollar Inflows

Says CBN Act one of world’s best

Former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi yesterday challenged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to give account of the dollar inflows from its operations.

He said, “Where are the dollars? Ask NNPC.”

He spoke at the opening of the 2023 Bank Directors’ Summit with the theme: “Emerging Issues: Navigating the Complex Balance Between Regulation and Compliance”, which was organised by the Bank Directors Association of Nigeria (BDAN).

At the summit, President Bola Tinubu reiterated the commitment of his administration towards resolving all foreign exchange backlogs while promising to inject more funds into the market.

Sanusi in his remarks, also warned against any move to remove independence of CBN and subject it to political manipulations, saying this could be dangerous to the economy.

He said the CBN Act remained one of the best laws in the world, adding that the solution was not in changing the bank’s law but rather ensuring its implementation.

Speaking on the current forex liquidity challenge in the country, the 14th Emir of Kano said the question about the earning of the NNPC would continue to linger.

It would be recalled that this was the question that cost Sanusi his job during the administration of Goodluck Jonathan when he asked the NNPC to account for $20bn.

He stated that he would continue to demand answers until NNPC is properly reformed or “till I die”.

He said the current fiscal challenges resulted partly from the inability of government agencies to account for their stewardship in a transparent manner to reduce revenue leakages.

The former CBN governor particularly blamed the bank’s overdrafts to the federal government through Ways and Means for the country’s high inflation and FX woes.

Sanusi described the NNPC as the opaquest institution in the world noting that to achieve FX stability “You must follow the money as we asked in 2014”.

According to him, so much attention was being focused on the CBN that no one was demanding answers for N11 trillion subsidy payments without accountability.

He urged the CBN to always consult the banking industry in crafting its policies adding that the “Era of regulations without consultation should end”.

He said the central bank should initiate regular meetings with bank directors, adding that AMCON levy tends to be unsustainable and should be reconsidered.

The president, who was represented at the summit by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, stated that funding of liquidity in the FX market though a short-term solution remained critical for the economy at the moment.

According to him, there’s “No reason to feel that the indications that were made earlier had changed”, adding, “It just takes time”.

Tinubu said it was only a matter of time before short, medium and long-term funds are mobilised across the spectrum.

He said, “Regulator must partner with industry to promote innovations that drive financial access, and banks have a duty to embed integrity and transparency into our culture and technology systems.”

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