By Franklin Alli
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry(LCCI), yesterday, called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to expedite action on the audit of the remaining 14 banks.
LCCI President, Asiwaju Solomon Onafowokan, who declared the Chamberâ€™s position on the recent developments in the banking sector in recent weeks, stated that the partial audit by the apex bank has created a suspense situation for banks that are yet to be audited and has in fact put some of them under stress.Â According to him, the ideal thing was for the CBN to have completed the entire exercise before announcing the outcome.
â€œWe, therefore, request the CBN to quickly conclude the audit process.Â The apex bank should also immediately make pronouncements that would give confidence and comfort to the depositors of the banks that are yet to be audited,â€ he said.
LCCI, he said, further noted that the current state of affairs is strong indictment on the part of the Examination and Supervision Departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) whose primary functions are to regularly carry out examination and supervision of these banks.
â€œWe have also observed that there were alleged inaccuracies and disputations on the list of debtors published by the CBN and the status of the loans.Â We advise that the CBN should ascertain the accuracy of the figures and status of indebtedness prior to their release to the press.â€
One major lesson from recent developments is the need to strengthen the economy through proper diversification and an enhanced performance of the real sector of the economy.
Unless investors in the real economy are strong, there will be limited investments for the banks to fund.Â The banks can only be as strong as the economy in which they operate. The Chamber however fault sectoral concentration of credit in oil and gas, telecom, capital market and trading , stressing that it is not in the interest of sustainable economic growth to have an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and support the financial system.Â The Lagos Chamber is in full support of the strengthening of risk management practices in the banks.Â But this should not be interpreted to mean that the banks would not take any risk.Â Investment is about risk, and any institution that wants to partner with investors must be ready to take some risk.
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry wishes to implore all depositors of banks not to panic as the CBN has taken adequate measures to protect their deposits.Â Already N400billion has been injected into the system and the CBN is in the position to add even more if the situation so demands.Â The introduction of guarantees for inter-bank market placements by the CBN provides additional comfort for banks that have temporary liquidity challenges.Â We believe that the CBN is on top of the situation.