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Bank reform: Ensure participants input, says Odife

By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—FORMER chairman, Centre Point Bank, Dennis Odife said yesterday that if the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi must succeed in his present reforms in the banking sector, there was the urgent need to ensure that there was what he called consistent participant input.

According to him, there was also the need for the CBN boss to bring down the interest rates as well as the need for the government to put in place a new and separate regulator for banks and for the naira to also become stronger.

Addressing newsmen yesterday on the forthcoming Public presentation of his books,”Nigeria: God Loves this country and Collectively Guilty”, Odife who hailed the CBN governor’s moves, stressed that if put in place, it would help him in putting the nation’s economy in its rightful place.

The presentation of the books on lessons from a decade of banking distress for Policy reform in Nigeria,(1994-2004) is slated for tomorrow, in  Abuja.

He also warned that Nigerian banks must begin to invest in Nigerians and in Nigeria, just as he stressed that suitable failure resolution arrangements have to be set up to enable failing Nigerian industries work out bankruptcy options with their banks and the courts.

Odife, a member of the Vision 2010 Committee and Chairman of the nine-member committee however disclosed that he wrote the final report, warned Sanusi to be cautions in his approach, adding more steps were still required to get the sector out of its present sorry situation.

According to him, “My message to our new governor is for him to remember that the CBN was part of the rot all the while. Let his strength be the strength of the CBN as a sound institution responsive to the needs of the economy and its people and not one that breaks its own laws to round-trip in the currency of another country for which co-conspirators Nigerian banks had to pay penalties to foreign governments.

“Let him try not be a strong man like his predecessors but let him strive to be the leader of a strong and reinvigorated CBN, and even more importantly of a reformed banking system. What he has done is substantial, but it will not constitute the reform that the system needs. The additional steps and how well thought-out they are will be decisive.

“Possible directions for change include dealing with banks that deliberately sabotage other banks and industry as well as developing framework for speedy debt recovery among others”.

Odife who berated the outcry that trailed  the N420billion used by CBN to bail out the five troubled banks, stressed that when the former CBN Governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo was there, he printed money to fund the African Finance Corporation (AFC), and there were no complaints in the country.


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