By Victor Ahiuma-Young
ASSOCIATION of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, ASSBIFI, has declared that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has no moral ground to midwife the sale of rescued banks The Union said it “strongly contests the position of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in mid_wiving the sale of the eight banks which were granted N 620 billion bailout last year”.
The affected banks are, Afribank, Union Bank, Intercontinental, BankPHB, Spring Bank, Equatorial Trust Bank, Finbank and Oceanic Bank.
At its seventh National Delegates’ Conference, which took place in Abeokuta, Ogun State, the association faulted the planned to sale the banks to foreign investors and called for the nationalisation of these banks.
Addressing delegates and gusts at the conference, outgoing President of the association, Comrade Adeshina Lasisi contested that selling the banks to foreign investors will not be the solution, knowing that the crisis that led to the problems of the financial institutions emanated from the US and Europe . He said it was strange in the history of political economy to resolve economic crisis by the antidote of private oriented policy therapy.
According to him: “Consolidation policy has proven beyond reasonable doubt that enough capital can be raised to operate the business of banking and finance in our country compared to other economies across the world.
Even though we appreciate the CBN Governor for his intervention, we urge him to tread softly so that the innocents are not made to suffer for what they did not know. We feel that there is need for sanity to occur internally within the CBN’s ranks and file, as most of the problems/policy somersaults associated with the financial sector today are its creation.”
He said though the sector in recent period had been entangled in a seemingly perpetual cyclical crisis of reforms, corruption in the sector contributed in no small measure to the problems facing the industry.
Though the ASSBIFI President commended the CBN for its efforts at sanitising the sector, he however stressed that the action of the apex bank had been largely eroded by the recent policy shift, saying “events of the past have shown clearly that the problem prior to the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) was not that of state ownership of banks and other financial institutions as we were made to believe.
There is hardly any difference in a state and privately owned corporations that is driven by the philosophy of individualism and profit accumulation.”
Comrade Lasisi lamented that the banking sector consolidation which was compounded by the global financial crisis had brought with it unfair labour practices by management in the industry, noting that the shake_up under the present leadership of the CBN had created opportunity for management of financial institutions to attack workers’ rights through unlawful and unprocedural mass disengagement of staff, outsourcing, unreasonable target setting among others.
He called for the immediate intervention of all stakeholders and the regulatory authorities to partake in the administration of the financial institutions towards achieving policy goal that would be geared at meeting the economic aspiration of the larger society.