CEOs Call for Tougher Regulations, Stronger Banks

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CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele

Obinna Chima

With the confirmation of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, for a second and final five-year term, by the Senate yesterday, some chief executive officers of financial institutions have hailed his reappointment and urged him to work towards having tougher regulations and stronger banks in the country.

The chief executives, who spoke in separate interviews with THISDAY, said with tougher regulatory environment, the banks would scale up their services.

The CEO, Cowry Assets Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, advised Emefiele to ensure that the central bank is more decisive in resolving banking crisis, to avoid any form of contagion effect.

“In terms of banking supervision and regulation, I want to see a situation whereby the central bank is more decisive in resolving banking crisis, such that when it becomes imperative that a particular weak institution should be allowed to exit the market, I believe the CBN should be decisive. But in all, we expect to see stronger regulation,” Chukwu explained.

He added: “He (Emefiele) has said he is going to focus on stimulating the economy, particularly the small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs). He should work towards harmonising the exchange rate and push for faster economic growth through monetary stimulus. I also expect him to continue to work towards lowering interest rate.”
The Managing Director/CEO of Polaris Bank Limited, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru, described the confirmation of the CBN governor as a positive development for our economy.

He said: “The economic outlook remains positive, as this adds fillip to the continuity of current macro-economic policies initiated by the CBN governor.

“The positive interventions in the agriculture, real sector and foreign exchange stability gives confidence that the economy will continue to grow.”

Also, the Managing Director, Investment Banking at United Capital Plc, Mr. Babatunde Obaniyi, also called for stronger banks.
“I think he (Emefiele) needs to make our banks stronger. What we need are stronger banks that can drive the developmental process in the country. We expect the CBN to guide the banks to cut down on the bad loans and also make them lend to the real sector. Banks should do less of trading in treasury bills and focus on supporting critical sectors of the economy,” Obaniyi added.

According to him, with the confirmation of Emefiele, there would be stability in terms of policy drive and also investors would be able to make projection on basic parameters such as exchange rate and the direction of interest rate.

“But I think the focus for the CBN governor should be how to have an inclusive growth for the economy. Having paddled us out of recession and the economy is now growing at a modest rate, I think we can do better. So, the strategic thrust should be how to oil the real sector of the economy,” he said.

On his part, the Managing Director of Kairos Capital, Sam Chidoka, said the confirmation by the Senate has removed all the uncertainty in the market and shows continuity.

“One thing the market doesn’t like is uncertainty,” he said, adding: “Now, the market knows who is continuing and we have seen his policies in the last five years and we don’t expect major changes going forward. So, the confirmation is good for the government because we didn’t see any issue that could trigger a sell-off or exit from the economy. All in all, we think it is a good deal.”