Wednesday, 27 October 2011 / By Oluwole Josiah, Abuja
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, has pleaded with the Senate to support the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria’s (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to provide N500bn funding for the body over the next 10 years.
Sanusi, at an interactive meeting with the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions on Wednesday, said the bill had suffered a setback at the House of Representatives even before he had time to meet with members on it.
The bill provides that the CBN will provide N50bn annually to the fund beginning from 2011 until 2020, which will bring the total amount to N500bn.
It also provides that at the same time, eligible financial institutions would have contributed a total of N1tn to the fund.
The CBN boss said, ‘’The CBN will contribute N500bn, according to the bill, which is before the Senate. It is unfortunate that we could not meet with the House of Representatives before the amendment bill was thrown out.
“I appeal to you to take the amendment because we have an agreement with the banks. And many of them were not involved in the problem that led to the situation we see now. We are pleading that we have an agreement and if we renege, it will not be good.”
On the recapitalisation of the banking sector, Sanusi said it was not his responsibility to protect shareholders, but depositors, even as he noted that the criticisms against him by the former were misplaced.
He said, “It is my job to protect depositors. If you go and buy shares, you are taking a risk. The bank paid dividends, you took the dividends. Share price went up, you sold and tripled your money. Those that sold made money. Those that didn’t sell lost. It is a risk you took.
“The depositors did not go to lose money. We told them ‘don’t put your money in the pillow, go and put it in the bank.’ He expects to get that money on demand. My obligation is to make sure that every depositor gets his money. I have no obligation to the shareholders. It is not my job.”
“I am serving depositors. Shareholders are not happy with me. I understand that and I accept it. I am happy that they are not happy because that means that I am doing my work,” he added.
Sanusi argued that shareholders, who were raising dust over the reforms in the banking industry, had watched the chief executive officers of the banks stealing their assets and did nothing about it.
“Where were the shareholders when over N300bn of depositors’ funds were being stolen? These are the shareholders that we are talking about. Where were they?”
Now that we have come and save the institutions, the shareholders are talking about their rights, not about the right of the depositors,” he added
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Ayo Adeseun, said the essence of the interactive session was to enable members see that the banking sector remained focused.