Â By Emeka Mamah
The Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, says that most Nigerians who either loot or steal bank funds end up as governors, ministers or senators.
He also said that only the poor people in the society actually lose their deposits when banks are distressed, adding that as a former managing director of a bank, he made about N1 trillion daily for the bank.
Sanusi disclosed these in his key note address at a town hall meeting organised by CITAR- an NGO at Arewa Hall, Kaduna, yesterday.
His keynote address was entitled, â€œReforming Nigeriaâ€™s Banking System: Issues and Challengesâ€.
His words: â€œthe same people who steal this money end up as governors, ministers and senators.
â€œThe idea of failed banks is unacceptable. People take their money to the bank, some people steal the money and the bank goes under.
â€œWe hand the banks over to the NDIC, people lose their money, the management walks away and the shareholders take their money.
Â â€œThis should never happen. You cannot tell Nigerians that a bank has failed.
â€œYou give somebody licence, based on that licence, people take their life savings and put in that bank. This is what is happening in Nigeria and what we did differently, and I think it is important to understand, was to say that there is nothing like a failed bank because a bank does not fail on its own, somebody must be responsible for that failure.
â€œYou cannot tell Nigerians that a bank has failed. It was your business. You gave somebody a licence and based on that licence, people take their savings and put in that bank and so, you have to do everything within your power to ensure that people donâ€™t lose their money.
Only the poor lose
What happened in the past is that, in this country, the poor are the ones that lose.
â€œThe 80-year-old woman who for the past 40-70 years takes her savings to the bank every month; the civil servant who spent
55 years working takes his pension and put in a bank to pay his childrenâ€™s school fees and take care of himself after retirement, wakes up one day and he is told that the bank has failed because he does not know the governor, he doesnâ€™t know the president and nobody listened to him.
â€œWhat we said is that those that know the governor and president and they borrow N50 billion and did not pay, they will pay this time.Â
â€œI keep telling people who are not in banking that it is very easy to run a very bad bank for a long time and nobody will know.
â€œI was Managing Director of a bank that makes an earning of N1 trillion per day. Now, if you mismanage and give out loans worth N400 billion, you can continue for a year because so long as you have the money; pay N50,000 chequeâ€¦
â€œIf you have a cheque of N100 million, you can go and borrow from another bank or the CBN to pay and people go home with the mind that the banks are healthy.
â€œI must say that these are things that cannot happen in a civilized society. If they happen there will be conflict.
â€œYou go to banking, petroleum, power, civil service, the legislature; things are happening that should not happen.”
â€œThe banks are not the only ones responsible for corruption, but we have to use it as a beginning and use that to confront that small group of people in petroleum, power, and business who have decided to hold this nation to ransom.
â€œIt is time to rid ourselves of these evils and hold people responsible for their action.
According to Sanusi, â€œThe financial sector does not exist on its own independent of the main economy. Services are part of the growth of an economy. In Nigeria, 46 percent of our GDP is Agriculture, less than 1 percent gets bank loans.
â€œThe most important thing that the banking sector is going to do is to make sure that after the crisis, the money that you put into the bank to move forward is geared towards producing the real economy such as agriculture, manufacturing, job creation.
â€œI have said it and I will continue to say it; the bank is not supposed to be a gambling house. If you take money from depositors, you put the money into the real economy, you show where the money goes.
â€œI do not have problem with you using your money to gamble. You have your own money as the bank Managing Director.
â€œYou can take your money and invest in the stock market or in property; but I will not allow you take other peopleâ€™s money and invest. Take your own money and bet on the stock market.
â€œThe banking system is important to the economy, but it is not because of the banking sector that we donâ€™t have powerâ€