Analysts welcome Sanusi selection as CBN governor

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Soludo bids staff goodbye.Foreign and local finance analysts have extolled the nomination of Lamido Sanusi to run the central bank for the next five years by President Umaru Yar’Adua.

This came as the President has formally written to the Senate nominating First Bank managing director Sanusi as Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, according to a presidency statement yesterday.
“President Umaru Yar’Adua has nominated Lamido Sanusi as governor of CBN,” presidential spokesman, Olusegun Adeniyi, said. The statement said Yar’Adua requested the Senate’s “expeditious consideration” of the nomination.
The nomination follows the expiration of Chukwuma Soludo’s tenure was greeted with relief by analysts following the suspense of the past two weeks during which various interest groups jostled to retain the status quo.
Ahead his departure from office Soludo yesterday bade the staff of CBN good-bye in a valedictory address after handing over to Ernest Ebi, the most senior deputy governor. After reading a commendation letter from President Yar’Adua, Soludo thanked the staff and urged them to cooperate with the coming governor.
In the commendation letter, the president “placed on record our debt of gratitude to you for your dedicated service and uncommon sense of duty over the past five years.
“I am confident that your worthy antecedents in the CBN and in prior appointments in the service of our nation remain sources of inspiration to an entire generation,” the president said.
The appointment of Sanusi Lamido as CBN governor, experts say, will usher in a shift towards real banking regulations and supervision, thus focusing attention on the health of banks.
“Sanusi is able to bring to the table his experience as a banker and is in a position to tackle the issues facing the banking sector from the perspective of an insider who is well-acquainted with the current regulatory system,” said Razia Khan, head of Africa research for Standard Chartered.
Sanusi is expected to continue his predecessor’s banking reforms, which created some of Africa’s biggest financial services institutions, deepening the country’s capital markets nd attracting a new wave of foreign investment.
“It is a welcome development for the market,” said Kemi Owonubi, head of research for Vetiva Capital Management. “He has a background in risk management and I expect that he should continue with what Soludo has done
Bismark Rewane, chief executive officer of Financial Derivatives told BusinessDay he has no doubt that banking will now be regulated professionally without losing sight of set monetary policies.
He said the most critical thing to central banks world all over is that they are all set out to restore confidence to the various banking industries in different countries.
“All central banks are set to restoring global health and safety of banks and restore back the old tradition of confidence”, he said.
A director of First Bank was quoted as saying that Sanusi tenure would be ‘radically different’ from that of Soludo as he is likely going to place banks under stricter surveillance. 
Also major northern groups are now united behind the candidature of Sanusi after earlier opposition by some groups on grounds of his perceived radical and independent minded nature.
BusinessDay gathered in Kano that the late rally was the product of a meeting brokered at the weekend by Umaru Mutallabi, chairman of First Bank plc.
A source, which was part of a northern stakeholders meeting on the CBN governorship race held in Abuja, disclosed that all contending groups on the matter agreed to forget there differences as a way of enabling them secure the seat for the region.
This move was said to have been informed by the intensify pressure which the South-East lobby group alleged to have been assembled by Soludo, is exacting on the presidency.
Sanusi, who has a reputation for strong corporate governance and conservative lending strategies, was widely seen as the favourite to replace Soludo.
Sanusi took over as managing director of First Bank in January after previously serving as head of risk management.
He has worked for more than two decades in the Nigerian banking industry, including a stint at United Bank for Africa (UBA), where he spearheaded the bank’s drive to comply with Basel 2 capital adequacy requirements.
Sanusi will face a heady list of investor expectations -- steering Africa’s biggest oil producer and most populous nation through the global downturn, tightening banking supervision and forging ahead with monetary policy reform.

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