By Frank Odinukaeze
The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),Godwin Emiefele has identified corruption as the major reason for high exchange rate and scarcity of foreign exchange which has almost paralyzed the economy.
Emiefele who spoke through the Deputy Director banking supervision department,Ebuak Ezulu, at the Ist National Stakeholders Conference with the “The theme : Promoting synergy between the banking industry and the organized Private sector(OPS) ,organised by by the Association of Corporate Affairs Managers Bank,(ACAMB) noted that the organised private sector (OPS) obtain forex from the CBN but fail to bring forex back to the country.
He said billions of dollars are exported outside the country and that accounts for the current scarcity of forex.
He accused the OPS of not addressing the exportation of dollars outside the country .
He noted that the CBN had done a lot in interventions but the effort had not been visible owing to what he called structural problems which have not been addressed.
He faulted the National Assembly and the Presidency for not holding some government financial agencies accountable for the huge sums of money allocated to them.
” The funding that have been allocated to them ,to who are they accountable to.The National Assembly is there.The Presidency is there.The Federal Ministry of Finance is there.Have they asked these agencies to account for the funds allocated to them?We are not accountable in this country” he said.
He challenged the OPS to provide evidence that less than one per cent of their members received intervention funds.
The CBN governor called on Nigerians to be patriotic and accountable to responsibilities assigned to them .
He added that people borrow money and don’t pay back.
“People borrow with the intention not to pay back.If people pay back ,we won’t be having problem.But people are not paying back that is why there is problem” he said.
Speaking at the occasion the president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria(MAN),who was represented by the Director Corporate Services,Ambrose Oruche noted that the banking sector and the manufacturing sector are critical sectors of any economy
He said the two share mutual interdependency which is helpful for economic growth of the economy.”The industry needs the banking sector to improve investment and production ,while the banks need the funds and returns from the industry to maintain financial stability” he said.
He stressed that structurally,if the industry is periled,,the banking industry would be affected.
“Most times the industry are declaring losses while the banking sector are declaring huge profits.The industry banking relationship has no steam underlined by the quantum of loans extended to the productive sector for years.For instance ,report from the CBN,shows the share of commercial loan to the manufacturing sector to the aggregate loan to the economy averaged 0.1 per cent from 2017 to 2021.This no doubt limits manufacturing activities in terms of investment and production” he said.
Oruche stated that short term and medium term loans by banks are hindering the manufacturing sector .He therefore called on the banking sector to give the manufacturing sector long term loans ,create easy access to forex,create a single digit interest rate,make available funds for capital expenditure and also create avenue for partnership with the manufacturing sector.
Speaking also the president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Dr.Ken Okpara noted that the banking sector is the engine room of any nation’s economic advancement,and no doubt is a major segment of the Nigerian economy.
“An efficient financial system is one of the foundations for building a sustainable economic growth and a virile economic system.” he said
He stressed that the banking sector plays a pivotal role in facilitating the economic activity of individual,private sector, public corporate bodies with the end role of promoting economic growth and ensuring financial stability.
” In the same vein, organised private sector which is the umbrella of organizations of interest, membership organisation’s representing the interest of private organisation’s in Nigeria,coordination of institutes such as Lagos Chamber of Commerce (LCCI),Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN),Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce Industry and Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA),Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Industries(NASMI) , Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises(NASME),they are the drivers of these sector groups and economic advancement through industrialisation ,job creation,provision of goods and services” he said
He added that a well functioning financial system,and a vigorous private sector are important drivers of growth.
Earlier in his welcome address,the Director General of the ACAMB, Rasheed Bolarinwa ,the initiator of the conference noted that over the years,the banking sector has been the most misunderstood sector of the economy by stakeholders.
According to him, this misunderstanfimg has resulted to what he calls ‘ avoidable confidence crisis’
“There should be a economic synergy between the banks and the organised private sector “he sad.
He said that”Despite series of efforts made by industry leadership to resolve the prolonged distrust with the economic partners,however there exists the widening of the communication gap between this two critical sectors .Thus, signalling the need for a strategy towards achieving enduring synergy”
Also speaking,the Director General of NASME, Ifeanyi Oputa,who represented the president of the Association,stated that the banks and CBN are not helping the economy.He noted that the CBN is the greatest enemy of the NASMI .He accused the apex body of dishing out money at the back of those who really need the fund.
President of NACCIMA,Ide John Udeagbala noted that while banks declare humongous profits Industry are declaring loses.He called on the CBN to address the issue.
Other speakers include Prof Adams Olu Adebayo ,Mrs Edobor Akpabio who represented the LCCI, Mr Wale Oyerinde of NECA,Barr.Ifeoma Okwuosa who represented the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (I CAN) and Vivian Chimezie Azubuike ,Acting Director General , Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS). They all spoke on the need to foster synergy between the banking sector and organized private sector (,OPS), for mutual growth and development of the economy.