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CBN Governor lists 3 areas of focus for chief audit executives of banks

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr.Godwin Emefiele on Thursday  called on Chief audit executives of banks to continue to expect a stream of policy initiatives from the Central Bank, and play their own role towards ensuring that banks remain healthy and stress-free, so that they can absorb any unexpected shocks.

At the quarterly meeting of the Chief Audit Executives of Banks held in Lagos, Emefiele noted that at this crucial point in Nigeria’s financial history when money is scarce and there is a noticeable decline in the purchasing power of the people, there was need for stakeholders in the economy to collaborate in order to turn the current situation into future prosperity.

Represented by Emmanuel Ukeje, Special Assistant to the governor on financial markets, Emefiele said the theme of this quarter’s meeting: “Changing Business Environment: The Role of Internal Auditors” is a clear indication that audit executives are concerned about developments in the financial sector.

He outlined three areas that should engage the attention of the executives over the next couple of years.

First, he said, in this era of change and challenge, “you will notice and should continue to expect, a stream of policy initiatives from the Central Bank. Our objective is to use monetary policy tools, sectoral preferences in resource allocation and other forms of intervention to drive our national economic recovery.”

Banks as critical players according to him are expected to faithfully implement CBN policies and guidelines.  This is because, some people including bankers and customers, may be tempted to take undue advantage of the occasional loopholes that may arise in the course of the expected policy readjustments.

“ As internal auditors, you must not allow or encourage this. I encourage you to insist that your banks, as institutions, comply fully with all CBN guidelines; and raise a warning flag when they fail to do so.

He also stated that banks must maintain good internal control, ethical practice and sound risk management, stressing that  Nigerians expect this, especially at a time of challenging operating environment.

“Therefore all the necessary measures for capital adequacy and indices of sound risk management must be in place and fully enforced. As internal auditors, you must all be proactive, look out for any factors that could destabilize the system, quickly identify and deal with them. You must pay particular attention to banks and customers operating in risk-prone and highly volatile sectors of the economy.

Thirdly, the governor noted that audit executives must be very vigilant and guard against fraud, because as Internet penetration continues to gather steam in Nigeria, greater volumes of transactions will be consummated online; and on various electronic formats and platforms.

Unfortunately the electronic medium is very attractive to certain class of criminals: those that are dexterous in the use of information technology tools and protocols to perpetrate cybercrimes.