The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has been named as the Central Bank Governor of the Year in the Sub-Saharan Africa, by the Global Business Magazine, Emerging Markets. According to the organizers, “the prestigious award is in recognition of the commitment and radical intervention in Nigeria’s financial sector to prevent a bigger collapse at the height of last year’s crisis.”
Speaking at the award ceremony which took place at Cocroan Gallery of Arts, Washington D.C., United States of America, the editor, Emerging Markets Magazine, Mr Taimur Ahmad described Malam Sanusi as “one of the most energetic and tenacious figures in Nigerian business”. He further lauded the courageous efforts in “first of all rescuing the Nigerian financial system and then reshaping it through an uncompromising focus on governance” all of which had been receiving acclamation and accolades.
Mallam Sanusi, while receiving the award amidst resounding ovation from the large audience, said he was humbled by the award which he dedicated to the Government of Nigeria, the law enforcement agencies for their unwavering support and the collective efforts of the CBN staff.
President Goodluck Jonathan congratulated the governor on the award, reaffirming that “the award is an endorsement of the single minded dedication with which you faced up to your duties as the Governor of the CBN, and clear evidence of the success of our administration’s committed efforts at stabilizing the financial sector and stimulating strong economic recovery”.
Meanwhile the Central Bank of Nigeria has granted provisional approval for new licences to 121 out of the 224 microfinance Banks, MFBs, whose licences were recently revoked, subject to the fulfillment of some specific requirements within three (3) months. Those granted these provisional approvals are those that had made fresh injection of capital and made significant loan recovery, as confirmed by a recent capital verification exercise.
The requirements for the grant of new operating licence to the 121 MFBs include the capitalization of prior deposits for shares and the new capital injection to bring the shareholders’ fund unimpaired by losses to the prescribed minimum of N20 million, good corporate governance, sound risk management system and strong internal controls to forestall avoidable losses, closure of unapproved branches, cash centers and customer meeting points, adoption of a true microfinance model, among others. At the expiry of the three months deadline, a comprehensive pre-licencing examination and capital verification will again be conducted before the new licence will be granted to those found eligible.
The CBN is also putting in place other measures to ensure that the MFBs live up to the overriding objectives of fostering financial inclusion, fighting poverty and empowering low-income and vulnerable groups. These include the review of the Microfinance Policy Framework, introduction of a new operational template to benchmark microfinance banking, capacity building to develop a critical mass of knowledge and skill, human resources as well as examining the possibility of introducing a Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Fund to catalyze a sustainable development of the microfinance space.
The CBN wishes to make it abundantly clear that microfinance banking is a regulated activity and only those that are prepared to play by the rules and comply with the appraisal guidelines, prudential requirements and extant laws will be allowed to remain in the field.