James Emejo in Abuja
The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) has refuted allegations that it mismanaged a N50 billion-Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Export Development Fund (EDF).
Rather, it noted that following the release of the fund in February 2018, to support export-oriented projects towards achieving the zero oil plan of the federal government, a total of N52.9 billion had been disbursed to support 62 projects as well as 8,062 jobs created.
The bank in a statement by Head, Corporate Communications, Mr. Tayo Omidiji, described the allegations by a faceless organisation identified as Citizens Committee for Corruption Free Nigeria (CCCN) which petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as “malicious lies, amounting to unpatriotic act of disservice to the Bank and to the country at large.”
Omidiji stated that the management found it necessary to put the records straight and allay the concerns of its numerous stakeholders, since the perpetrators of the campaign of calumny appeared to be relentless.
According to the statement, the current management of the bank, led by Mr. Abba Bello, had been able to reposition the bank within three years of assuming office by turning its fortunes with profits of N2.03 billion recorded in 2019 and N1.09 billion in 2018.
It noted that, “This was against a loss of N569 million in 2017 and a much bigger loss of N8.03 billion in 2016, which explains why the previous management could not produce an approved financial statement for three years, 2014 to 2016.”
The current management resumed office in April, 2017 to replace the erstwhile management, which was removed by President Muhammadu Buhari over issues relating to gross incompetence, which had rendered the bank almost insolvent, with huge non-performing loans, exacerbated by reckless abuse of process, insider related loans and lack of professionalism in loans administration, among other issues.
Nevertheless, the bank noted that the projects support through the EDF were to reputable exporting companies with verifiable track records, many of them ranking highly on the list of top 100 exporters published quarterly by the CBN.
The statement read: “The loans granted are adequately secured, mostly with bank guarantees, and are all performing, with export proceeds received from 2019 to date amounting to $90.1 million and €80,000, translating to N34.8 billion, from projects that have so far repatriated their revenues.
“In addition, an estimated 8,062 jobs have been created and/or sustained as a result of the intervention.
In the light of the foregoing, it is clear that some unscrupulous people are not happy with the current progress of the Bank and would rather prefer the status quo before the appointment of the new management to continue.
“Moreover, such individuals may not be happy with the spirited efforts of the Bank to recover the huge amount of bad loans which were booked by the previous management, a large proportion of which was insider related.
“Despite the malicious attacks, the current management of the Bank remains focused on the task of achieving its mandate of broadening Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings by funding credible export-oriented businesses in the non-oil sectors. We, therefore, advise the public to ignore any reporting to the contrary.”