The Governor of the Central Bank of the Federal Republic Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, has given a clean bill of health to Nigerian banks in The Gambia, saying they are all safe, sound and strong, as the institutions are working within the ambits of the law and are not operating contrary to rules and regulations.
The problems with some of the Nigerian banks in Nigeria did not affect their subsidiaries, Mr Sanusi said while speaking to a large crowd of high-profile bankers and other business moguls in The Gambia at the Sheraton Hotel and Spa in Brufut during a one-day visit to the country. "We have not allowed any bank in Nigeria to repatriate money from their subsidiary banks,” the CBN Governor said.
“Our message to the Nigerian banks operating in The Gambia is that they should consider themselves Gambian banks, they should operate under the regulations of the Central Bank of The Gambia, they should train and employ Gambians, they should try and share the partnership with Gambians and they should show a clear commitment to the growth and development of the Gambian economy.”
Governor Sanusi said this is the role Nigeria wants to play in integrating and serving as an agent of change of the development in Africa to ensure the capital that is available in Nigeria is used for the betterment of the African people.
Sharing with stakeholders in the country’s banking sector the details of what is happening in Nigeria to reassure Gambians that banks in Nigeria are safe and strong, Governor Sanusi said: “The actions we took were geared towards averting a major crisis."
He continued: “We are here to discuss among other things ways and means of building some form of cross boarder supervision and comparison of notes to increase the level of communication and information so that together we can ensure that the financial system in our various countries are protected.”
Despite the rebound in agricultural output, growth in real GDP is projected at 3.6 per cent in 2009 reflecting reduced foreign direct investment, tourism and remittance flows.
He reaffirmed the commitment of the Nigerian parent banks to operating professionally in The Gambia and to working with the Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia for cross-border solutions in support of growth and development in the country.
Hon. Yusupha Kah, the newly appointed Trade Minister, said the challenge of meeting the MDG1 under the current circumstances is “considerable”, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
The sister country bank governor also assured the Government and people of The Gambia that there is no illegal activity being undertaken by banks operating in The Gambia, with Nigerian ties.
“We have brought down the management of eight banks in Nigeria," he remarked. "We have disclosed that they did not have enough capital but not a single depositor has lost a single penny, not a single bank defaulted to a creditor and not a single correspondent bank has shut its licence in Nigeria,” Governor Sanusi clarified.
He explained further: “It is the determination of the Government of Nigeria that any one found guilty of any act of corruption or fraud, must face the full consequences of the law.
We have reached a stage as a country where it is no longer about banking; it is about sending clear signal that we are ready to hold people accountable for not doing things the right way and we expect our bankers to regulate themselves and to understand that if they break the rules, the day they are found out they will face the consequences of the law.”
The governor also mentioned the illegal banking transactions that were taking place in different banking institutions which, as reported, was costing the Federal Republic of Nigeria huge sums of money consisting billions of US Dollars, as well as that nation’s credibility and integrity.
Lamido Sanusi took the decision to prevent banks from collapsing and thereby rescued tens of thousands of Nigerians and other employees from suffering job losses.