The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it will be churning out more policies in the banking industry to drive the nation towards economic recovery even as it affirmed that there is no love lost between the fiscal and monetary authorities. Disclosing this, Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele said while the two authorities are working together in addressing the economic challenges of the country, the fiscal authority is being constrained by bureaucracy.
Citing the example of the $30 billion bond which the federal government is seeking legislative approval to raise and which has met hiccups, Emefiele said the CBN is not held back by such constraints. Consequently, he said operators in the financial industry should be prepared to see more policy issuance that would be geared towards reviving the economy. Emefiele who was represented at the quarterly meeting of the Chief Audit Executives of Banks held in Lagos at the weekend by his Special Assistant on financial markets, Emmanuel Ukeje, said, “in this era of change and challenge, you will notice and should continue to expect a stream of policy initiatives from the CBN. Our objective is to use monetary policy tools, sectoral preferences in resource allocation and other forms of intervention to drive our national economic recovery.”
The CBN governor in his keynote address on “Changing Business Environment: The Role of Internal Auditors” said Deposit Money Banks are critical players for the realization of the overall thrust of the Government and CBN, and as such are expected to faithfully implement apex bank’s policies and guidelines.
Emefiele who urged bank audit executives to play their own role towards ensuring that Nigerian banks remain healthy and stress-free so that they can absorb any unexpected shocks, said, “as is the case in all systems and climes, some people including bankers and customers, may be tempted to take undue advantage of the occasional loopholes that may arise in the course of the expected policy readjustments. As internal auditors, you must not allow or encourage this. I encourage you to insist that your banks, as institutions, comply fully with all CBN Guidelines; and raise a warning flag when they fail to do so.”
He noted that at this crucial point in Nigeria’s financial history when money is scarce and there is a noticeable decline in the purchasing power of the people, there was need for stakeholders in the economy to collaborate in order to turn the current situation into future prosperity. He outlined areas that should engage the attention of the executives over the next couple of years, stressing that banks must maintain good internal control, ethical practice and sound risk management, adding that Nigerians expect this, especially at a time of challenging operating environment.
“Therefore all the necessary measures for capital adequacy and indices of sound risk management must be in place and fully enforced. As internal auditors, you must all be proactive, look out for any factors that could destabilize the system, quickly identify and deal with them. You must pay particular attention to banks and customers operating in risk-prone and highly volatile sectors of the economy,’’ he said.
The CBN governor also urged audit executives to be very vigilant and guard against fraud, because as internet penetration continues to gather steam in Nigeria, greater volumes of transactions will be consummated online; and on various electronic formats and platforms.