Senate demands CBN report on bailout to states

Many months after states got billions from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to settle outstanding staff salaries, Senate, on Monday, requested the apex bank to furnish it with comprehensive details of the deal.

Despite receiving the amount, most of the states were alleged to have diverted the funds to other uses, leading to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) inviting many state governments officials for questioning.

At an oversight visit to the CBN in Abuja, chairman of the committee on banking, insurance and other financial institutions, Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim, told reporters that his committee requested the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to furnish it with detailed report on all the bailouts granted to states government.

This was as the committee expressed satisfaction with operations of the banking watchdog.

He, however, said generally, his members were satisfied with the performance of the bank.

“We discussed issues about the bailout. They told us everything surrounding it and we have requested for a detailed report on all bailout transactions, but we are satisfied with the bank explanation.”

While noting that the purpose of the visit was to afford the committee an insight of the operations of the bank, the chairman continued that “the thrust of the meeting is our usual oversight visit to the CBN by Senate committee on banking and insurance institutions.

“We are here to rub minds about their operations. We are now more enriched about the operations of the CBN and our own role is to assist the apex bank to perform its roles effectively for Nigeria to function very well,” he added.

According to Ibrahim, members also queried the apex bank officials on seeming lack of policy coordination between monetary and fiscal authority.

“We discussed that, but we don’t see any problem on that. I think it’s purely about perception. This is so because when any nation is in this kind of situation, everybody will be in a hurry to get out of it. If we are adopting some measures and such measures are not bringing instant results, naturally there will be complaint.

“But we have spoken to the CBN and they have explained to us that they are working together with the fiscal side in most of the policies. We believe they are working in harmony,” he said.

Emefiele, had earlier in his remarks, given the assurance that the country would soon exit the current recession.

“We believe that the present economic recession is difficult, but it is surmountable.  You have granted us ample opportunity that enable us to speak to you on what we are doing at this difficult time.”