By Omoh Gabriel, Business Editor
AWKA— CENTRAL Bank of Nigeria, CBN, yesterday, gave banks operating in the country four months within which they had to replace external auditors that have spent ten years in their audit work.
This came as the apex bank assured depositors that with the current reforms in the banking sector, no bank would collapse again in the country.
The apex bank also announced that it would launch a redesigned N50 note into circulation on September 29 in commemoration of the nation’s 50th Independence Anniversary.
CBN Deputy Governor, Financial Stability and Banking Supervision, Kingsley Muoghalu, who gave the assurance when he visited Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi in Awka, said the apex bank was in the process of getting strategic investors for all the banks which had their chief executives changed recently due to their weak financial positions.
Viable banking system
Muoghalu said the reform in the sector would guarantee the establishment of regional, national and international banks across the country, noting that this would engender a more stable and viable banking system in Nigeria.
Meantime, the Central Bank said it has given all banks operating in the country four months within which they had to replace external auditors that have spent ten years in their audit work.
A statement signed by its head of corporate communication M.M.Abdullahi said: “CBN has given banks up to December 31, 2010 to replace external auditors that have been appointed for more than 10 years including years spent with constituent legacy banks.
“This directive is in line with provisions of paragraph 8.2.3 of the CBN Code of Corporate Governance for Banks, which stipulates that ‘the tenure of the auditors in a given bank shall be for a maximum period of ten years after which, the audit firm shall not be reappointed in the bank until after a period of another ten years.’
“For the avoidance of doubt, the maximum period of 10 years shall include the period an audit firm which later merged/changed name, first commenced audit assignment in the bank.
“Consequently, all banks are to submit their status of compliance with provisions of the above stated paragraph of the Code on or before December 31, 2010 to the Director, Banking Supervision. Failure to comply will result in the CBN directing the affected auditors to resign mandatorily.”
In a related development, Director-General of the Nigeria at 50 Anniversary Committee, Dr B. K. Kaigama, announced the launching of a redesigned N50 notes in Abuja at a special World Press Conference and Gala night organised to release details of events lined up for the Golden Jubilee.
He said the new notes as well as commemorative non_circulating coins also to be released by the CBN, would be launched by President Goodluck Jonathan at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Kaigama who dismissed news reports that his committee received donations from multi_national companies to finance the anniversary, explained that the committee actually sent letters to some companies for sponsorship of some of the events lined up for the anniversary, but that there was no response.
He said: “The letters were written in March before the budget for the ceremony was released. None of the companies responded. Rather, the letter was leaked to the press, misinforming the public that we are begging for money.”