Market News

CBN redeploys top officials, supports review of enabling Act, BOFIA - THE GUARDIAN

DECEMBER 01, 2023

By Collins Olayinka, Abuja

• Directs banks to issue old notes
There are indications that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has discreetly redeployed top officials in the apex bank as part of moves to reinvigorate the institution.

The Guardian on Monday, reported that the CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso has taken ownership of ‘housecleaning’ and commenced a broad staff audit with a view to redeploying personnel not considered suitable for their role in line with the new direction of the bank.

While the report could not be confirmed by the CBN officially, some of the affected staff, indeed, confirmed the development.

This comes as there are also indications that the CBN may have been pushing for the review of the CBN Act as well as the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) to strip it of prudential regulations.

In the postings, eight directors were moved to the Financial Sector Surveillance (FSS) Department in the Maitama office.

While the motives behind the redeployments are not known yet, there are palpable fears in the apex bank that more people could be affected by the redeployment.

There are also fears that the purging exercise may ultimately lead to mass sack at the apex bank.

The identities of those sent to the Maitama office are not known except for Philip Yusuf Yila, who served as the Director of the Development Finance Department (DFD) of the CBN under Godwin Emefiele.

Yila superintended the DFD that played a crucial role in supporting businesses through increased access to finance for priority sectors under a variety of programmes such as the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), the Agri-Business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF).

He also handled disbursement to households and small businesses during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic to cushion the impact of the consequent lockdown.

The Director of Corporate Communications, Dr Isa Abdulmumin, has also been redeployed while Sidi Ali Hakama takes over in acting capacity.

To refresh the bank’s new direction, there are plans to repeal BOFIA to strip CBN of prudential regulations.

Cardoso is said to favour the establishment of ‘Banking Commission’ which may be merged with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to amongst other things, decree prudential rules aimed at preserving the liquidity, solvency and stability of intermediaries such as risk diversification, capitalisation and loan-loss provision rules of the banking system.

This effectively means that a proposed Banking Commission may be in the offing.

The Commission will be responsible for setting and enforcing rules for banks and other financial institutions.

There are feelers that the Commission may also be merged with SEC, which is responsible for regulating the Nigerian capital market.

Experts have advised that the CBN be unbundled into two entities as obtained in the United Kingdom and some other countries where the monetary policy and banking regulation are handled by different regulatory entities.

Meanwhile, the apex bank has directed banks to continue to issue both old and new naira notes. The bank said this follows the order of the Supreme Court on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, which granted the prayer of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi, to extend the use of old Naira banknotes ad infinitum.

A statement signed by Hakama said in line with Section 20(5) of the CBN Act 2007, all banknotes issued by the CBN will continue to remain legal tender indefinitely.

“Members of the public are enjoined to continue to accept all naira banknotes (old or re-designed) for their day-to-day transactions and handle these banknotes with the utmost care, to safeguard and protect the lifecycle of the banknotes.

“Furthermore, the general public is encouraged to embrace alternative modes of payment, e-channels, to reduce pressure on the use of physical cash.
November 29, 2023,” she stated.


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