Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Nigeria: Bank governor adjudged world best

Mallam Lamido Sanusi
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Lamido Sanusi, has been adjudged the world best by the Banker magazine, a publication of the Financial Times of London. The magazine noted that Sanusi has performed creditably in the last 18 months in office to salvage the Nigerian economy.

The Nigeria Country Representative of The Banker Magazine Kunle Ogedengbe said the magazine noted in its 2011 January Edition, which will also be distributed at the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, that during Sanusi’s tenure he implemented reforms that have put Africa's most promising market back on the map for investors globally.

The Editor of the magazine, Brian Caplen noted that few candidate names can generate an overall consensus on judging panels and yet, when it came to finding the best global central bank governor of the year, Sanusi was chosen unanimously.

Caplen stressed that Sanusi embarked on a radical anti-corruption campaign aimed at saving 24 banks on the brink of collapse and pressed for the managers involved in the most blatant cases of corruption to be charged and, in the case of two senior bankers, convicted.

"Despite the big challenge of facing up to powerful people who held considerable sway in the country, Sanusi never looked back and got the support of the public as they were made aware of the scale of corruption, which made the public to support the change he promoted", he said.

Two months into his governorship, Sanusi embarked on the bailout of Afribank, Intercontinental Bank, Union Bank, Oceanic Bank and Finbank and dismissed their chief executive officers in a move designed to show that banking is no longer business as usual but institutions that must serve the economy as a whole.

Another key reform of the banking sector introduced by Sanusi has been to limit the tenure of bank CEOs to a maximum of 10 years.

They will have to leave office at the end of their term regardless of their record. This policy has already led to change of leadership at UBA, Zenith and Skye banks.

Caplen added that the reforms initiated by Sanusi have been hailed as necessary to sanitise the banking industry and that observers have argued that, had these reforms not been initiated, Nigeria would have entered into another round of banking distress.

"The implementation of stricter disclosure policy by the CBN has also led to a culture of greater transparency in the sector", he said.

The magazine noted that the reforms of Sanusi are to enhance the quality of the Nigerian banks, establish financial stability in the system, provide enabling and healthy financial-sector evolution as well as ensuring that the financial sector contributes to the real sector rather than just serving the banking sector alone.

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