CBN defends immunity for Governor and actions against Covid-19

 Central Bank of Nigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN says total deposits as of August 2020 have increased to N29.7 trillion from N25 trillion while total loans is now N19 trillion from N17 trillion in January 2020

CBN Director of Corporate Communications, Isaac Okoroafor made this known in a statement while reacting to a recent media document titled “Matters of Urgent Attention” by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, NESG, which called into question some of the measures taken by the apex bank to support the stability of the financial system and enable faster recovery of the Nigerian economy from impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

Okoroafor said the CBN engaged in development finance in order to address the credit needs of the sectors critical to improving livelihoods, reducing poverty, and promoting inclusive growth as N59.12 billion has been used to support 103,189 beneficiaries as of August 2020.

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The CBN which described as a false alarm, misleading anxiety and associated reportage by the NESG raises serious credibility questions on the actions of the Group. One of the issues raised by NESG is that the provision of Section 51 of the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act (Amendment) Bill purports to confer immunity on the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria like that which obtains for State Governors is not a bar against action but rather, the provision protects the Federal Government, the CBN and their respective officials against adverse claims for actions or omission in good faith in the exercise of powers under BOFIA and other specified statutes including the Central Bank of Nigeria Act and regulations made there under. The apex bank said the review was key as it had been noticed that debtors and the like simply rush to court, obtain injunctions and stop orderly resolution of cases and proper implementation of the law.

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The CBN says the actions of the Group, across the globe has significantly harmed the credibility of the Governor and the CBN as an institution.

On border closure, the CBN said it is not opposed to its reopening but that only the cooperation of Nigeria’s neighbours can change the directive due to the significant economic sabotage involving smuggling of many fake products, drugs, small arms, and other goods.

The statement indicates that as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, and Thailand placed export restrictions on the exports of critical food items, including rice and eggs and such disruptions which could have pushed Nigeria into a major food crisis, but for the government’s intervention programmes in the agriculture sector.

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On reduction in interest earned on savings, the CBN said in other to forestall a continuation of the benefits enjoyed by firms rather than having large corporations invest their funds and encourage more lending it had to discourage these practices for the good of the economy.

The CBN while addressing other key issues raised noted that although the NESG, under its current leadership, has fallen short of its own standards and become a shadow of its old self, it believes there are better ways to resuscitate the Group’s brand other than through using ambushed media statements made up of contrived allegations. It adds that the NESG should know better and see these allegations as a reflective of sinister motives and malicious intent.

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