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Improve Regulatory Capacity, LCCI Urges CBN

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has said that due to the significant growth in Nigeria’s banking industry in recent times, that there was need for the apex regulatory body, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to also scale up its supervisory capacity.

This it said is necessary if the Central Bank would do its work of supervision well.

The Chamber, which spoke through Asiwaju Solomon Kayode Onafowokan, its President, said the accompanying sophistication in the operation of the bank, disversity and complexity of their operations require that the CBN also raises its bar of supervision.

According to him, the CBN should as a starting point, examine critically capacity issues within its operations while also ensure improvement of in- house capacity through training and related programmes.

He said the bank should also ensure recruitment of experienced hands from the industry; and engagement of consultants through outsourcing.

He observed an astronomical growth in the rate of credit, alongside rise in non-performing loans over the last five years, saying this has credited serious difficulties for banks in accessing assets used as collaterals for most of the non-performing loans.

He said it has created serious risk management for many banks, adding: “The legal processes involved in debt recovery are cumbersome, awkward and frustrating. The new CBN leadership, in collaboration with the National Assembly, should put in place enabling legislations to protect creditors from debtors who deliberately want to avoid repayment of loans. The CBN should be part of the courts that would deal swiftly with debt recovery issues, among other commercial disputes.”

He made reference to the current global financial meltdown, saying the huge exposure of Nigerian banks to the capital market and resultant adverse impact on asset quality was mainly a failure of risk management.

Onafowokan said the chamber is pleased to note that risk management is an area of core competence of the new governor of the CBN and that they were expecting him to bring this to bear on the quality and standards of risk management in the industry.

He said compliance with the best practice standards outlined in the Basle 11 Acord should be rigorously enforced for operators in the industry, and that the CBN should ensure full disclosure by banks with regard to their exposure and also full provisioning.

According to the LCCI President, this will help preserve the stability of the financial system, protect the depositors’ funds and safeguard the investments of the shareholders.

He said the pressure on the financial sector at times like this is quite high, and that the capital market window for the boosting of capital and liquidity is no longer as robust as it used to be.

He said given that investors’ confidences had dwindled considerably, there is need to create a conducive environment for market driven consolidation to create accommodation for the weak banks.

According to him, this would encourage voluntary mergers and acquisition which would result in stronger banking institutions and a more stable financial system.

“One of the major initiatives to lessen the impact of toxic assets on the financial system was the move to create asset management company to manage toxic assets. This has been in a drawing board for over five years. We appreciate that there should be an enabling legislation for this to happen. We urged the governor to work closely and quickly with the national assembly to fast-track the process for the creation of the asset management company to bring relief to banks which are burdened with loans” the LCCI President said.

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Group Tasks C’River, Ebonyi On Harmonious Boundary Demarcation

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A non-governmental organisation, Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, has charged Governors of Cross River and Ebonyi States to work with their community leaders on demarcating the boundary portion in the parcel of land that has occasionally triggered crises between the two states.
The Executive Director of the group, Mrs Emem Okon, dropped the charge while delivering a speech at the capacity building/training workshop on community leadership held at Transcorp Hotel, Calabar.
The training programme, which was co-sponsored by OXFAM and Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre was organised to build capacities of opinion leaders and leaders of thought from two states of Cross River and Akwa Ibom to educate participants on how to impact positively on their immediate communities.
Okon, who spoke before the participants stated that, for leaders to remain influential, they must be visionary in a manner that can accommodate different shades of opinions brought before them by their followers.
She urged the community leaders to, at regular intervals, organise skills acquisition programmes for youths in their communities, so that they can become self-reliant enough to fend for themselves.
“As a leader, you must be straight forward, coach others, be visionary, change agent, decision maker, influencer, team player and above all, a peace maker,” Okon enthused.

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FG Engages 70 N-SIP Monitors In Kebbi-Minister

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The Federal Government says it has engaged 70 Independent Monitors to fast track implementation of the National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP) in Kebbi State.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, disclosed this at the presentation of engagement letters and devices to the monitors, on Monday in Birnin Kebbi.
Umar-Farouq, represented by the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Legal Matters, Aminu Shamaki, said each of the independent monitor was expected to monitor a designated number of beneficiaries of the programme.
She said that each of the monitors would be paid a monthly stipend of N30,000, adding that they must meet up to 80 per cent of their deliverables monthly to be eligible for the stipend.
The engagement letters, she said, clearly articulated the scope of work to include; routine monitoring of all programmes under the N-SIP in their assigned Local Government Area (LGA) and provision of evidence-based report on findings in the field.
She listed other services to include the submission of reports in accordance with the set timelines, attending all trainings and meetings as required by the ministry as well as other duties that may be assigned by the ministry.
“Please be informed that independent monitors are not allowed to assign their responsibilities to third parties. Each monitor will be held accountable by the ministry for the task given to them.
“The ministry reserves the right to disengage an independent monitor for misconduct or non-compliance with set guidelines and directives.
“I hereby urge you all to carry out this assignment with utmost sense of patriotism, diligence and sincerity,” she said.
Umar-Farouq said the N-SIP was created by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 with the mandate of lifting citizens out of poverty through a number of social interventions.
She listed the intervetions to include the Job Creation Programme (N-Power); National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), and Government Enterprises and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
The minister said that all the programmes were moved to the ministry in 2019, noting that they were being implemented across the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

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Group Sues For Unity, Peaceful Coexistence

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A pro-democracy group, ‘Nigeria Peace Project’, yesterday in Abuja stressed the need for peaceful coexistence among the diverse ethnic and religious groups in Nigeria.
The convener of the group, Mr Francis Ako, made the call in an interview with newsmen.
Ako, who emphasised that Nigeria is in dire need of peace and oneness, pointed out that the country can only record rapid development in a peaceful atmosphere.
While advocating stronger synergy among security agencies to tackle insecurity facing the country, Ako urged those involved in criminality to desist from their acts.
According to him, the group will embark on a peaceful rally in all the 774 local government areas across the country to canvass for sustainable peaceful coexistence and unity in the country.
He said that the rally tagged ‘Mega rally for peace’ is scheduled for July 17.
“The “mega rally for peace in Nigeria’’ will serve as a platform for we the youth to demonstrate our determination to support security agencies in the fight against criminality in the country.
“It is a call on youths who are involved in criminality to desist from their acts of kidnapping, rape, armed robbery, killings.
“There will be no meaningful development if we must continue this way thus the need to refrain from such acts.
“No doubt, a house cannot stand if it is divided among itself. Even in friendship, if there is no unity, it cannot thrive. So we need to be united,’’ Ako said.
He urged traditional and religious institutions to intensify efforts in sensitising their subjects to understand the need to embrace peace always.
Ako said that members of the group would be forced to apprehend criminals in their communities and hand them over to the security agencies.
“We are issuing this warning because we know that criminal youths live among us.
“We are giving them from now till December 31 after which we will start operation identify your work.
“And those we find to be of criminal elements, we will apprehend and handover to the police for prosecution,’’ he said.
Ako also cautioned separatist groups to stop the clamour for the break-up of the country.
He said: “those who are clamouring for Nigeria’s break-up should know that nothing will make Nigeria to breakup because Nigeria is indivisible’’.
Ako added that the current insecurity facing the country was preventing investors from coming into Nigeria.
“This is also causing us a lot of job opportunities; investors have refused to come in and invest and this is as a result of the insecurity.
“How can investors come and invest where they cannot guarantee their safety,” Ako said.
He said that the group would sponsor a bill that would provide for the compulsory study of criminality in the country’s tertiary education system.

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