By Emmanuel Aziken
President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, Thursday, accused the erstwhile Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, of deceiving the Senate on the fragile state of Nigerian banks.
Declaring open the Senate public hearing on a bill to establish the Assets Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, Senator Mark equally lauded Soludoâ€™s successor, MalamÂ Lamido Sanusi, for his sense of purpose in salvaging the sector.
Mark, at the public hearing which was attended by the cream of the nationâ€™s financial sector including managing directors of banks, charged the Central Bank to recover the N620 billion bailout loan extended to the 10 banks recently rescued by the apex bank.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu, while welcoming dignitaries to the hearing, noted that an estimated N1 trillion would be required to recapitalize the 10 distressed banks rescued by the CBN.
Mrs. Nwaogu added that, AMCON, when established, would be expected to â€œacquire toxic assets of deposit money banks, financial development institutions to strengthen their balance sheets and bring about improved liquidity and capital adequacy,â€ besides reducing the debt overhang of the banks.
Those present at the hearing included Sanusi; Ms. Aruma Oteh, Director- General, Securities and Exchange Commission; Prof. Ndi Okereke-Onyuike, Director-General,Â Nigerian Stock Exchange; Mrs. Funke Osibodu, Group Managing Director, Union Bank Plc; Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Managing Director-Designate,Â Zenith Bank and other bank executives.
At the event, Mark said:â€œWe have found ourselves where we are today as a result of one thing; the Central Bankâ€™s inability to supervise the banks properly. I recall that in Soludoâ€™s time, we called the governor of CBN no less than three times to come and brief us when the economic melt-down started, and, on each occasion, we were assured and re-assured that the situation in Nigeria was excellent and that there was no problem at all. Now, we know better.â€
Why AMCON isÂ necessary
â€œSo, I think that is the point that we must note straight away. AMCON has become necessary because of the toxic debts that have been incurred by various banks.
“And, I believe very sincerely that if the supervision was all right, we would not have found ourselves running debts up to trillions of naira. I think that point is very important and we must note it.â€