European Investment Bank lauds CBN’s banking reforms



Plutarchos Sakellaris, vice president of the European Investment Bank (EIB) has expressed satisfaction over the on-going reforms in the banking sector initiated by Sanusi Lamido Sanisi, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).


According to him, the approach taken by the CBN “is similar in substance to moves taken by financial regulators both across Europe and beyond at a time of global economic turmoil, challenge and questioned confidence”.


The vice president was particular about Sanusi’s liquidity support and recapitalisation. He said measures to support liquidity in Nigeria’s banks and recapitalisation improved confidence not only in the potential of Nigerian banks to stimulate sustainable growth through proven best practice, but also play a greater role in helping the private sector to expand.


According to him, working to alleviate investors’ concerns over bad debt in banks has also been crucial in helping restore confidence of both Nigerian and international investors.


Sakellaris noted that “the efforts of the CBN also mirrors the EIB’s focus on investing in projects that promote economic growth and foster private development, especially where there is a strong potential for this benefit to be delivered to the wider region”. As such, support is also given to the public sector where government led initiatives are crucial to create a competitive business environment, he further stated. Sakellaris said that he was optimistic that the reforms will stimulate sustainable growth and help private sector to expand through proven best practice.


While speaking earlier, the EIB boss said that the choice of Nigeria as the first country to be visited in 2010 “reflects the importance, respect and influence of Nigeria across the continent”. Sakellari also stated that he will take back home the message of commitment on the part of Nigeria’s leading players aimed at restoring confidence in Nigerian banks and how these reforms will act as important agent for development.


He further said that as a long-term lending institution of the European Union, whose shareholders comprise of the 27 member states, it has been active across Africa for four decades, saying that EIB committed about $1.5 billion in 29 projects in sub-Saharan Africa in 2009 and hinted that more of such projects would be financed in 2010.


He also said that notable efforts of the EIB were done in collaboration with development institutions like the World Bank, Africa Development Bank, International Finance Corporation and European Commission. In his welcome address, the CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, thanked all trading partners for their understanding and support, saying the CBN is committed to making Nigerian banks to be proper monetary policy transmission mechanism and channels for credit.


Sanusi also reiterated the commitment of the apex bank in diversifying to non financial areas crucial to economic development and therefore called for more collaborative efforts in strengthening the financial system and investment in projects that will promote such development.


Also speaking at the occasion, the Nigerian ambassador to Belgium, Luxemburg and European Union, Usman Baraya, promised to evolve the necessary synergy to strengthen the existing relationship between Nigeria and the European Union.



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